The political-security environment in the Pacific: Evolutionary change
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Top Customer Reviews
Not only does it accurately portray the political and social situation in India in the 1970s,it reflects the predudices within the upper castes and the fatalistic attitude of the lower castes, formed from their religious beliefs that suffering is their destiny and the reward will be in the afterlife.
This story is overwhelmingly sad and also shocking as the reader can identify the ethical question of human suffering for a possibly laudable goal (in this case it is population control). However, the novel is also uplifting in a peculiar way; that individuals who struggle so hard to exist in appalling conditions can find joy in their lives is humbling. It also allows the reader to identify with the predudices and to see a situation from another side. Maybe at the end of the book, the reader feels that they have grown a little in spirit and have the capacity to be a 'better' person as a result.
For me, the mark of a great book is one that remains with you long after the back page is read. This is such a book.
'A Fine Balance' begins with the unlikely union of four people from different ends of the class spectrum, and spends the first half of the book looking back into their lives.Read more ›
I have always been fascinated by India and the vast extremes in fortune that co-exist there. I've visited the country and known a lot of Indians and one thing that has always struck me is that they seem to have no concept of self-pity or even sympathy for others. There seems to be an acceptance in the Indian culture that life is unfair. Sitting around thinking "woe is me" gets you nowhere. However the reverse side of that is that people don't really expect their circumstances in life to change dramatically. The American dream, that "anyone can be President" idea, doesn't exist in India. The class that you're born in will be the class you die in. Accept that, and move on.
Against this background, we have Ishvar and Omprakavash, who are born in a lowly caste. They are trying to improve their lot in life through hard work and taking calculated chances, but again and again life knocks them back. Dina, too, is a plucky heroine full of ingenuity. She is also trying to make the best of her circumstances.
If this was an American novel it might have had a neat and happy ending. Instead life deals these people some unspeakably terrible cards. There are parts of this book that are almost unbearable to read. Horrible, horrible things happen to Ishvar and his family. But how do they people react? They keep going. The connections they have with the people around them sustain them and get them through, and then life gets better (and the book gets easier), for a while. In the end it is Maneck, who on paper has the easiest circumstances, who has the least resilience to life's ups and downs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this after seeing it reviewed on the tv series 'my life in books'. I loved it, it's beautifully written and poignant.Published 11 days ago by Cathryn H
One of the best books I have ever read. I feel blessed to have found it. Having just returned from an adventure exploring India I was recommended this book by my tour manager and... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Sheila
Didn't realise when I purchased this book I had read it before. However I enjoyed reading it as much the second time as the first. Read morePublished 1 month ago by 63 years young
Absolutely brilliant book which I read some time ago but bought for a friend as it is on the "100 books everyone should have read list".Published 1 month ago by Beazle
I wouldn't normally have read this, but it was picked by my book group and it was fascinating. A moving, heartbreaking, poignant read about a world many of us can only imagine. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Miss.M888
A story of intertwined lives, with hard to forget characters. Heartwarming, and relentless at the same time. A superb book.Published 2 months ago by Zhareen R
This book interested me from the word go, and seemed to get better and better as I was immersed into the story and the characters' worlds. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Thanagma (likes books)
The description of this novel isn't very encouraging but I would recommend everyone to read this book. It is beautifully written and takes you to a very different world. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jane Howard