Though lacking the dramatic power and the pessimistic philosophy of his later masterpiece 'A fine balance', 'Such a long journey' is a wonderful, extremely compassionate account of a family's struggle to maintain unity and moral integrity in the face of extraordinary circumstances: both external (the Emergency) and internal (father-son conflicts, disease etc.).
The political agenda in this novel is much reduced compared to Mistry's later work, and that perhaps renders 'Such a long journey' a less pressing and controversial book, removing some of the urgency and the vigour to concentrate instead on a very human (and universal) 'journey', which eventually leads to a very human (and universal) catharsis.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I rate it as highly as 'A fine balance' and perhaps higher that the latest, somewhat disappointing (to me!) 'Family matters'.