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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 December 2012
Phenomenal book. I would recommend this to anyone interested in indian society after independence. This is a story of family facing the reality of living in a newborn state where the political landscape of the surrounding regions has changed much with the departure of the british empire, but the powers hat be remain rotten to the core. It is the story of a family facing fragmenting relations with one another and with friends.

A beautiful tale guaranteed to make you reflect on fate and fortune, as the pavement artist puts it "luck is the spit of gods and goddesses"
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on 26 February 2002
I can't really say this is the best book in modern indian literature because my knowledge is not so deep, but you can trust me if I tell you to buy this book and throw yourself into it without esitation. You will cry ,you will smile, you will love the characters and, like me, you'll look forward for the next Mistry's novel.
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on 18 February 2017
The book is unique because of its simplicity and the well developed characters - conscientious, educated working middle class in a Bombay (now Mumbai) Parsi community - the kind for whom the plot and conspiracies of this novel would be something they would rarely see in everyday life. Yet, as the story progresses, the characters blend in with the complexities and tackle challenges and moral decisions with fortitude.
For many, it evokes nostalgia about a Bombay from the 70's when it was less crowded and retained its unique spirit and civic sense.
One of the best books depicting Mumbai of the old that I have read.
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on 25 April 2013
A wonderful atmosphere capturing the heart of Indian Life. I love books with a taste of India and this did not disappoint.
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on 22 July 2014
I've learned so much about India from Rohinton Mistry - especially "A Fine Balance". His books transport me to another way of life. I just love the atmosphere of his novels and this one has so much to enjoy or think about - the patience of Gustad Noble and his wife. Also his impatience with his son, yet his kindness too. Couldn't put it down.
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on 11 January 2011
This is a delightful story of Gustad Noble and his family living in Bombay in the 1970's under Indira Ghandi as Prime Minister. A middle class banking clerk, Gustad struggles to maintain dignity for himself and his family, while living in a small flat in a squalid building part of whose courtyard, where he says his morning prayers is scheduled for demolition for a road-widening scheme. Gustad has never been able to remove the blackouts from his window following the past war with China, but pins his hopes on his son Sohrab gaining entry to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology. During a small dinner party to celebrate his exam success, the son announces that he has no intention of going there, and eventually leaves home to the distress of his mother - while his father disowns him.
Two other incidents threaten the family - the serious illness of the younger daughter, and the mysterious request from a former family friend to launder a large amount of money - and later to retrieve it. The mother addresses the daughter's illness through various bizarre spells set out by the old woman who lives in the same block, and the father risks much to deal with the money situation. In the process of the latter another good friend and colleague at the bank dies, through natural causes. The description of the friends funeral at the Tower of Silence is exquisite - and in the process Gustad remembers his grandfather, a skilled bookshop owner and woodworker and his grandmother. There are some beautiful themes here - the crunching of the gravel as the procession makes its way to the tower - which recurs later in the book, and the sense of "journey" of his grandfather - whose business eventually went bankrupt.
None of the potential disasters that threaten the family wreak their worst consequences, and there is much here to inspire as Gustad manages through all the horrors and scares of his day to day life. The story of how he cleansed the "wall" - previously used as a latrine by passers by - is charming; he persuades a street artist to come and paint a variety of gods on the wall duly turning it into a religious shrine - until its inevitable demolition. Similarly the description of the rail journey to Delhi, where his old friend is imprisoned and where he learns of political corruption, is captivating. There is no dramatic ending, but just a philosophical acceptance and some family reconciliation - accompanied by the removal of the black-outs -despite another war with Pakistan in the meantime.
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on 16 April 2011
I have read author's previous books so knew what to expect - but you can be surprised. Really enjoyed the saga of Indian family life. Very good read if you're into family sagas. The whole of humanity resides in this book sad, funny, melancholy, hilarious. Characters are well formed and all knit well together.
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on 13 January 2013
Not quite as gripping as 'A Fine Balance ' but a masterpiece none the less.
A great read and of course beautifully written.
Funny at times and heartbreaking at other times...I felt as if i was a fly on the wall
ALL the time...and I did love the people i met.
Cant recommend it enough.
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on 26 February 2013
All Mistry's books depict the different trials, hopes and expectations of life after partition but despite failure and corruption os people in authority the characters struggle on and fine friendships and kindness offering hope to all
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on 31 January 2014
I had read another of Rohintom Mistrys books and I was hooked from beginning to end,and I can honestly say this one is the same.such am addictive an intense story he has you memeriserd in his words from the word go,
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