A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry


With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.

The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers—a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village—will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

My Review:

8A Fine Balance* by Rohinton Mistry is a poignant and gripping novel that takes readers on a captivating journey through the chaos and challenges of India in the late 1900s. Set against the backdrop of India in a state of emergency, 28 years after its independence, Mistry’s book delves into the lives of its characters, portraying a society where money is power and the poor struggle to survive.

The story revolves around Dina Dalal, who anxiously awaits the arrival of two tailors, Ishvar and Omprakash, to help her establish a tailoring business. Alongside Dina, we are introduced to Maneck Kohlah, a young man seeking refuge from the struggles of college life and hostel by staying at Dina’s home. Through Mistry’s expert storytelling, we gradually uncover the complex backstories of these characters, which become a microcosm of the larger societal struggles faced by India.

What makes A Fine Balance truly remarkable is its ability to bring national-level issues down to a personal level. Mistry artfully weaves the characters’ lives together, showcasing their unwavering resilience in the face of adversity. The emotional rollercoaster ride is both heart-wrenching and inspiring as the characters grapple with poverty, corruption, and the fragility of their circumstances. The author skillfully captures the essence of hope, faith, and friendship, illustrating how these intangible forces become lifelines in the midst of chaos.

While the story does not offer a conventional happy ending, it leaves readers with a bittersweet sense of hope. It serves as a poignant reminder that even in the face of overwhelming challenges, there can be moments of resilience and connection that offer solace and meaning. The conclusion, though slightly disappointing, adds to the overall impact of the narrative, leaving a lasting impression and encouraging contemplation about the complexities of life.

I had the pleasure of experiencing A Fine Balance through the Audible Audiobook narrated by Vikas Adams, and it was an absolute delight. Adams’ versatile voice breathed life into the story, effortlessly capturing the essence of each character. His ability to convey distinct voices added depth and engagement to the already superb storytelling. Whether it was Mistry’s distinguished writing style or Adams’ exceptional talent, the audiobook was a truly immersive experience.

In conclusion, A Fine Balance is a masterfully crafted novel that offers a profound exploration of human resilience, hope, and friendship. Rohinton Mistry’s storytelling prowess combined with Vikas Adams’ exceptional narration creates an unforgettable experience. This book is a must-read for those seeking a thought-provoking and emotionally charged tale that will stay with them long after the final page.

Trigger Warning: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry includes scenes depicting sensitive and potentially distressing content. These scenes involve instances of rape, molestation, mutilation, and murder.

Happy Reading!!