Adriane Devries's Reviews > A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
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's review
Feb 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: book-clubbing

With rich and sumptuous detail of the toils and joys of a motley group of friends thrown together by the caprices of life, Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance is a modern-day Les Miserables, set in India during the politically tumultuous 1970s. Two talented tailors fleeing persecution in their village seek safety and fortune in the city, and they discover instead a deep resourcefulness of spirit that allows them to embrace surprising relationships that give meaning to their outwardly hopeless lives. Their new “family” includes an amputee beggar living on the streets, a depressed college student, a beautiful widow, even a murderer, among a throng of other untouchables. Their outlandish escapades inspire a local café owner’s growing collection of folk tales, while their employer’s ever-growing patchwork quilt documents all the darks and brights of their comingled lives.
Mistry writing is spellbinding, capturing both the natural beauty and man-made misery of this land, while at the same time weaving the histories of his characters’ lives into each other and into our hearts until their fates become all-engrossing. Roiled among the chronic and senseless brutality between political, religious and caste differences, each must discover whether “There is always hope—hope enough to balance our despair. Or we would be lost.”

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