Reading 1001 discussion

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Archives > 10. How did you rate the novel? Does it deserve to be one of the 1001 books you must read before you die. What or why do you think the editors included it?

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message 1: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4183 comments Mod
This book has made it through all editions of the 1001 Books lists. Why do you think it was chosen and why has it held its place? How do you think this book may have contributed to the development of the novel. Did you find the book immediately engaging or did you have to plod along to get hooked. Is this a character or plot driven novel. Did you like the ending?


message 2: by Sallys (new)

Sallys | 38 comments Kristel wrote: "This book has made it through all editions of the 1001 Books lists. Why do you think it was chosen and why has it held its place? How do you think this book may have contributed to the development ..."
Yes, absolutely. I loved this book. It gave an excellent picture of the Indian culture and was a touching and poingnant story that was hard to put down.


message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna Fennell | 107 comments I absolutely loved this book!! Every second of it -- even the cringeworthy events. While I was reading it, I could not help but be thankful for this group because otherwise I am pretty sure I would have never come across it. The author of this story is a true storyteller; he wove this tale in such a way that it was effortless for me to read it. I literally felt like I stand down with the book and saw this great tale unfold before me. In addition, although this story is set in India around 1975, it says a lot of universal things about humanity. It speaks to people in all cultures throughout time.

I thought the book was immediately engaging and I could not wait to get to the next part of the story. I even enjoyed the ending which surprised me because the ending is particularly sad but also it is particularly perfect.


message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna Fennell | 107 comments I gave the book 5 stars and if we were at shelfari it would get a heart too.


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Anna wrote: "I gave the book 5 stars and if we were at shelfari it would get a heart too."

I miss the hearts too. I completely agree with your review. Fantastic book and I'm so glad you liked it.


message 6: by Claire (new)

Claire (goodreadscomclaireg) Just finished this today and the six hundred pages flew by - I loved it (5 stars) and was hooked from the very beginning.

For me this story is timeless. Aside from the political and cultural details, which are interesting and important, it is the relationships between the characters and the moral messages which for me make this book sublime. It's for this reason that I am by no means surprised that this book has remained on the list.

The ending felt brief (almost rushed) and was very emotional but I think in the context of the book as a whole it was balanced and a pretty perfect, if tragic, conclusion.

I'm so happy that this group led me to read such a great novel.


message 7: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 2029 comments Mod
5 stars from me

I was immediately drawn into the stories of the 4 central characters and the 600 odd pages flew by. At points I was shouting at Om not to be hotheaded and despairing at Dina for being so suspicious. While I enjoyed the high moments I really dreaded the lows which you could feel coming like an oppressive thunder storm.

I think this has stayed on the list as its an important book about a dark period in history as well as a compelling story in its own right.


message 8: by Eadie (new)

Eadie Burke (eadieburke) 5 Stars
This is a beautifully written book about life in India during the mid-70's. The characters are well-drawn so much so that you can feel a real connection to them. We get a picture of the awful way of life under Prime Minister Gandhi's The State of Emergency, the 3rd world economics, the political, social and religious conditions of the caste system and the strength it takes for the human spirit to endure. This book is a must read as it is a real piece of art that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.


message 9: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1434 comments The fine balance in this picaresque novel set in 1970's India is between hope and despair. "sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair", so says the proofreader who meets two of the characters in coincidences which may have stretched credulity, but instead provide a satisfactory conclusion to a novel which is full of heartbreak and love. It is the story of four disparate characters who end up sharing a house during the upheavals of the Emergency. The appalling lack of human rights, particularly for the lower castes is illuminated as the reader is drawn into the fate two tailors and their hardwork and misfortune. It is an exceptionally good read despite the callousness and cruelty which beset the characters. The villains are often shown to have more compassion than their actions predict and the heroes sometimes behave less than admirably. Although there is so much pain, the story is so well told that the reader is carried along wanting more. I knew about the injustices of Emergency Rule and the forced sterilisations, a friend's father was murdered during the backlash against Sikhs and I have witnessed a railway station being emptied of street sleepers (albeit in Kolkatta rather than Mumbai) and I have also enjoyed the mountains of the Himalaya foothills, so the whole saga was meaningful to me personally. Nevertheless anyone wanting to read a thoughtful, beautifully written story of life in India will relish this one.


message 10: by Josh (new)

Josh | 13 comments Really good book. There aren't many books out there that make you FEEL poverty and hopelessness like this book. It is very realistic. On top of that, it is an entertaining story/tragedy.


message 11: by Diane (new)

Diane  | 2050 comments Read: March 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

I loved this book. I agree that the book flew by, despite the length. I was very sad when it was over. Definitely tough subject matter, but beautiful written and enjoyable all the same. It is one of my favorite list books thus far. Definitely worthy of its place on the list.


message 12: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4183 comments Mod
It. Will be a 5 star book and probably my favorite for the year. I loved the writing, so many great statements. I loved the characters especially Dina and the tailors. The tailors were awesome people with ability to live life no matter what was handed them.


message 13: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Robitaille | 964 comments A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) ****

The destinies of four lives become intricately linked during the period of the Indian Emergency in the mid-70s. A novel about hope and despair, this page-turner guides you through the whole gamut of possible emotions. Another very fine example of contemporary Indian literature.


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