segunda-feira, 28 de março de 2016

Book Review | A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

You know how an author gets you so invested in the characters and then keeps you cringing with their turmoiled path? You know how you a novel gets you so alive in your own imagination that you almost have physical reactions to something that's not real? You know how you get so familiar with people that come alive on paper that you feel for them and you curse the author for putting them through misadventures?

That's how it was for me with A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. A recent friend, who's not Indian but is certainly more Indian than me, not only recommended this book, but also lent her precious copy to me, praising it so much with such a hurtful expression and such a heartfelt review that I felt that she was actually recommending me some sort of torture from which I would be scarred forever.

That's exactly what happened. This book scars one's soul in an indescribable way. It's not just the plot and the way the characters' paths intertwine. It's also the real events described in an almost cold way and the pain that perspires through the words that grabs one's heart and keeps tugging at it.

The book tells the story of four main characters, very different in upbringing, in mid 70s India. Political instability creeps into the characters' lives in different ways, shaping their own self mentally and physically.

The only real flaw I could see in this book was that it was too short, even though it was quite long. I wanted more of it. I wanted to see something beautiful at the end, something that would reward the characters and relieve them of their suffering, and something that would make my mind at peace.

There was no such thing and I think that was Mistry's purpose. Being in India, I see some of the things described in this story set in the 70s. I see so much that has not changed and needs to be changed.

That's why I think this book is still needed and someone this Mistry is much needed in the world.

It was such a pleasure reading this novel that I'm even afraid to go read something else and make the temporary spell one feels after finishing a book, that stirs one inside, go away with a book that's not so worthy as this one.



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