A Fine Balance: Oprah's Book Club No. 44

Kobo eBook available

read instantly on your Kobo or tablet.

buy the ebook now

A Fine Balance: Oprah's Book Club No. 44

by Rohinton Mistry

McClelland & Stewart | April 5, 1997 | Trade Paperback

A Fine Balance: Oprah's Book Club No. 44 is rated 4.7094 out of 5 by 117.
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry’s stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a “State of Internal Emergency.” Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry’s prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 736 pages, 8.36 × 5.31 × 1.49 in

Published: April 5, 1997

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771060548

ISBN - 13: 9780771060540

Found in: Fiction and Literature

save 37%

  • In stock online

$16.49  ea

Online Price

$24.99 List Price

or, Used from $5.04

eGift this item

Give this item in the form of an eGift Card.

+ what is this?

This item is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25.
See details

Easy, FREE returns. See details

Item can only be shipped in Canada

Downloads instantly to your kobo or other ereading device. See details

All available formats:

Check store inventory (prices may vary)

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deeply moving I highly recommend this book although it's not for the faint hearted. I read it when I returned from a trip to India so the backdrop was fresh in my mind. I was so moved by this simple story of friendship, trust, tragedy, hope and fate. The story is so well written that I felt like I knew the characters and I missed them when I finished the book.
Date published: 2014-09-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from All Downhill From Here. * SPOILERS* I found the first half of the book really interesting. Although it had it's share of tragedy, the author did in fact keep a balance within the plot. In the second half of the book however, it almost seems like he didn't know how to resolve his story, so he just decided to kill and maim about 80% of his characters. I can guarantee that nothing you hope for will happen in this book, and I would only recommend it to someone who wants to slug their way through a fairly slow book only to be left thoroughly depressed and unsatisfied in the end.
Date published: 2014-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Top 10! before I read this book, I was reading Nicholas Sparks, Meg Cobat, and Sophie Kinsella. So in other words; chic-lits. My Aunt came over one day and gave A Fine Balance to me as a present. She told me to read up to page 60 before quitting. She said if I did not like by the time I got to that page I wouldn’t have to read it anymore. Well, I gave this book a shot and was instantly swept away. This book is like no other book I’ve read. It’s a complex read with complex meaning in the simplest form of writing. I enjoyed this book so much and felt as though I learned so much from it. It was a true eye opener that all these events actually occurred in a country that is the country my parents grew up in. This book has really changed my style for reading and has opened new doors for me. I will be forever thankful to my aunt for giving me this book and whenever I get the chance it is the book I always recommend or give as a gift.
Date published: 2014-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An enjoyable page-turner! Bringing the reader on an illuminating journey of the caste system and the inherent struggles of those in the lower echelons, Rohinton Mistry captures both the triumph and defeat of the human spirit. From the lives of a struggling widow, a boy coming into manhood and a pair of aspiring tailors- the story captures their joy and their despair in a flowing narrative that compels you to turn the page.
Date published: 2014-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from India meets The Odyssey To read Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, a 1995 Giller winner, is akin to reading Shakespeare’s Titus. Beyond a tragedy, Titus is what my husband has come to call a catastrophe. And in many ways Mistry’s A Fine Balance follows in that tradition. Carrying that classical form of tragedy, Mistry also marries the epic throughout his story, so that one very much feels part of an odyssey, complete with storms, shipwrecks, exile, monsters, betrayals and retribution. It is not an easy read. Relentless, unforgiving, Mistry writes a complex tale that entwines the lives of two tailors in search of a better life, a woman struggling to gain independence, and a student seeking fulfillment. There is a host of subsidiary characters who walk on and off stage like the necessary and colourful characters of any Shakespearean play, dancing through the narrative like a counterpoint. And as a backdrop for all this Mistry, who now calls Canada home, writes of his native India with all the noise, squalor, divisions and desperation of the common people. His characters are fully realized, lifting off the page with tenderness and sometimes terrifying reality. They struggle with the barriers of caste, religion and wealth. They confront demons within themselves and within their neighbours, friends and family. Just when you think everything will be okay, that there will be some redemption, some small hope, Mistry excises hope and leaves you weeping. For the most part the language is very spare and conversational. There are a few moments of prose wandering into the purple, but they are rare. Point of view tends to wander from time to time, so that a very tight, character-oriented focus dissolves into an omniscient view; these shifts were not enough to disturb the overall arc of the story, and instead imbued the voice of the traditional storyteller, rather than detracting. If you have never read any of Rohinton Mistry’s work, I recommend you do. While certainly A Fine Balance, is not a story I would recommend for a cheery, uplifting bit of escape, it is very much a story that will haunt you and linger long after the telling.
Date published: 2014-04-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A sad story, but well-written and beautifully detailed I really enjoyed this book, but like another reviewer, I found it incredibly sad. Unfortunately, this was the way of life in India in that era (and likely still the same today). It made me feel all kinds of emotions very vividly, and opened up my eyes to the way of life on the other side of the world.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from stuck on this one It took me a very long time to read this book, almost a year. I could not get into it at all and found myself only picking it up when I had nothing else to read. I found it dragged on endlessly, until I got to the last few chapters. Then I couldn't put it down. So I'm on the fence about it because it really wasn't worth reading the whole book and only enjoying the last few chapters. And I can't even say it was enjoying because it was so sad in the end.
Date published: 2014-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not a Happy Ending in Sight I have never in my life read a book so full of despair, every time you think there is hope and your spirits lift you turn the page and you get crushed by the reality of life. And yet I could not stop reading “A Fine Balance “ or stop turning the pages so fast. The book tells the story of four different people who struggle through life in India during the 1947 Emergency called by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Dina Dalal, Ishvar Darji, his nephew Omprakash and Maneck . Dina comes from a well to do family, her struggle is for independence so she does not have to rely on her brother to live Ishvar and Omprakash struggle , and I have to say the most, to overcome their Chamar — Caste and the status of being untouchables . Their story is heart breaking and haunting and just plain WRONG, makes me angry to think some people have to go through what they went through. And Maneck who never had to go through a hard day in his life struggles with his identity, his relationship with his father and the feeling that he can’t measure up to his father’s expectations. Each of these characters have a different struggle and I often wanted to smack some sense in Dina , Maneck and Ishvar because I felt some of the struggles they went through could have been avoided and are unnecessary but none the less felt for them and wanted them to succeed . Not a lot of books leave me thinking beyond a week after reading and this book did. The characters came to life and I felt their pain beyond the pages and I felt they were real people and I wanted them to be happy . It’s been 3 weeks since I read it and the story still haunts me. This book is cruel and depressing and AMAZING, a life-changing read, and one that I would be truly sorry to see anyone miss out on. You have to, HAVE TO.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't Like it, Didn't Hate It I can count on one hand the number of books I don't like, it's just really hard for me not to be able to find something I like about a book- but I'm stuck on the fence with this one. There were parts that I laughed at, enjoyed, and felt contented about, but then as hope seemed to glimmer brighter, the clouds came out and the good was just swept out from under the characters feet. It just seemed that every time things went their way, the universe kicked them in the face. I understand that this isn't a "feel good" book. It's sad, it's dark. The setting is a place that has seen nothing but horrible turmoil in the past one hundred years. But still. Everything just made me mad- especially the ending. I like books like this, I like the ones that throw the dark side in your face and acknowledge the truth that the world isn't a bright, shiny place where everything works out for everyone because it's supposed to. But this one really just irritated me. Maybe it's because I wasn't in the mood for it, but I felt like I should read it, or maybe it's because it just went on and on and on (700+ pages), or maybe it's because it should have ended instead of going into Chapter whatever: Family Planning, or maybe it's because injustice just really really pisses me off and that's all this book had to offer- I don't know. ****SPOILERS**** There were parts I liked and a lot I didn't, Maneck's suicide I found truly anticlimactic, Om and Ishvar becoming beggars I found unnecessary, Dina losing everything she had fought for for so long was just depressing, and some of the details (I really don't want to say which ones) I found a bit creepy. It's probably me though, because I liked the overall message, just not how it was presented.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a touching novel This book will make one appreciate everything that they have!Never have such hardships faced by the less fortunate been put into such vivid descriptions the way the author of this book did. This story is so amazingly written and I definately think its a book that everyone needs to read!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Depressingly Good Takes you there and you will revisit it in your head many times.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Perfect Circle. Truly great writing can be defined by continuity and recognition, and Rohinton Mistry achieves both to perfection in "A Fine Balance". The story itself is a gripping tale of a widow, two tailors, and a college student trying to make sense of an ever changing India and at the same time try to live their lives every single day in normalcy and simplicity. Mistry reminds us all, especially those of us from a Western civilization, that there is in fact nothing easy about life. That for some, finding a place to sleep can be as difficult as winning the lottery. That no matter how steadily your life is going in one direction, it can very easily and quickly turn in another. The difference is all in the willingness to adapt to that change. This theme is continual throughout the course of the book; that we must all accept the highs and lows that are naturally bound in the discourse of living. The major caveat is that 1970's India was a much more radical place, filled with civil unrest and corruption. Those who chose to go outside the boundaries of that society, were set up for an experience that they never anticipated. Mistry's cyclical style also is immersed in his plot development. Key individuals, moments, objects, etc. are never seen just once, and for a novel to be 700 pages and have the reader still recognize them, is a testament to the strength of this book and this author. In my eyes, there has never been a title that defines a book better. Everything is centered around "A Fine Balance", and Mistry does not make that a challenging task for the reader to discover. He is not trying to pressure his audience to understand how much more difficult life was in 1970's India (though it is quite apparent regardless), but more so he is trying to have his audience understand key life lessons about how to never allow misfortune and bad circumstance shroud the good that surrounds being alive. Even those who have nothing, or have had everything they care about taken from them, still manage to appreciate the things that matter. If for nothing else, read "A Fine Balance" to remind yourself of the simple truths that I'm sure you know, but so often forget.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW This book revolves around people's lives in India during Indira Ghandi's rule and how they intertwine. This was an amazing read and while there is alot of tragedy here , I found the main characters resiliency to survive, no matter what the odds the balance in this.. This is so well written, from page 1 that it is a very hard book to put down. I read this book over a year ago and it still stays with me. Very much an eye opener, it changed the way I view certain things in society . So many things we take for granted are out of so many others control.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreakingly beautiful This is a tale about four ordinary people struggling to survive in mid-70s India at the time when Indira Gandhi ruled and later declared a state of internal emergency inspite of a court order calling for her resignation. During the Emergency civil liberties were suspended and birth control was mandated throughout the country. The story revolves around Dina Dilal, a 40ish seamstress widow who has spent all her life trying to escape her domineering and self-righteous older brother. She takes in a boarder at her apartment, Maneck Kolah, a college student whose parents have sent him to the city to get a degree. Then she hires two tailors, Ishvar and his 17 yr old nephew, Omprakash, to do piece work for her and whom she later allows to live in her place. Despite all their neverending troubles, the four develop into something like a family and lean on each other in times of extreme poverty and hardship. I highly recommend this. It is very well-written (I expected nothing less from a multi award-winning novel), and 'though you may find it too heartbreaking and utterly depressing, it will make you understand what life in third world countries was like during those times (or even during the present time), from the point of view of the homeless, the hungry, or people who have absolutely nothing. Then it will make you think how fortunate your life has become.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An eye opener I read this book several years ago and loaned it to a co-worker and never saw it again. One read through was enough for me. I found it a harrowing experience. India is a place that I have always wanted to visit. I guess that was the draw for me to read it. The characters are so believeable that you can' t help but root for them in their struggle for survival. For anyone who needs a reality check this the humbling read that they need. I found myself depressed after reading it. Despite that though I still feel that the characters are telling a story that needs to be told.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever! I still love this book - I cried so hard I sobbed...fastest 700 page read I ever had! It is truly India - I have been and it was so similar to what I experienced.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant yet sad My best friend recommended this book to me after she read it for a school project. I was at first iffy about reading it, because I knew it was going to be what I call a "heavy" read. Finally, I read it, and I am so glad that I did. This book is amazing,although it isn't for those who are easily upset. It goes into great detail about everything. While reading it, I couldn't help but wish the next chapter would bring better luck to the main characters, but it's not such a book. It's about struggles, hardship, pretty much what real life is all about. It is a must read to anyone who likes a good work of fiction, that we all know has some truth behind it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Extremely depressing, but well written While this book is well written and very engaging, it's also one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. The ending caused me such despair and disappointment, I threw the book on the floor (I've since picked it up and put it back on my book shelf). I don't recommend this book to pessimists; it will just drag you further down. But there's no escaping the fact that this book kept me interested, invested, and involved throughout the entire story. For that reason, I rate it a 4.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it!! One of my fav books!!! I was hooked from the first page. A must read for anyone. It really opened up my eyes to the world and the lives of the people around me.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True Masterpiece Every so often a book comes along that you cannot put down - this is one of them. So beautifully written it demands an emotional attachment with all the characters. Their stories, trials and tribulations will remain with the reader long after finishing the book. I would highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable a book I could read over and over again. this is a masterpiece.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Long but fascinating I had to read this for a grade 12 ISU comparisson essay. The book is long. At first I thought HOW am I going to read this? But after reading the first few chapters, I couldn't put it down. THe book is beauituflly written, and well worth a read. The characters come out of the pages and are almost alive. THe evens seem as though they are occuring around you, but you just can't see them ...
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye Opening A truly enjoyable read. Will really make you think about the world and the experiences of people. Uplifting and tragic all at once.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an Amazing Story! This book has now become by favorite book of all time! The story was absolutely amazing. The characters were wonderful. It was one of those books that could make you laugh, cry and get angry....full of emotion!!! I couldn't put this book down. This is definately a must read.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Long, but worth every minute! I was sucked into the story and the lives of the characters. You never knew what new hardship they will have to face due to their circumstances or position in society. The story had me longing for a better life and condition for the main characters. It also gave me a better understanding of what life was like for people outside of Canada and I developed a better understanding of the caste system in India. The ending shocked and saddened me. I had to go online to google the ending, I couldn't believe what I read!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Don't put it down! This book will change how you look at things. Mistry has a real gift for making you love the characters, identify with them and to appreciate so much about your own life. This book is an incredibly rich gift.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story This was the first book I read by Rohinton Mistry and have since read all his books. Like the others, this book takes you on a well crafted journey that winds through current and past events effortlessly, picking up segments that make you understand the characters without having to explicitly spell them out. The heart wrenching adversity faced by the characters reminds us that life is not easy but yet they persevere. This book will probably not leave you with a warm glow in your heart but it will stay with you and I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written, historically interesting, fas I love being swept away into another country, world and/or reality. Reading for me is not only for entertainment but for education and blissful escape. Rohinton Mistry gives me satisfaction on all these levels with "A Fine Balance." Absolutely brilliant, rich and satisfying. The story, characters and adventures are clearly and beautifully drawn. The reader is captivated by this messy, horrifying, cruel and beautiful world that is India.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Changes your view on life. What strength of character.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Novel! This novel has fantastically intricate relations between a myriad of characters, it beautifully describes settings and evokes a turmoil of emotions in the reader. This will, be one of the best book you will ever read!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A novel that will never be forgotten Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance is a novel full of happiness, sadness, adventure and even love. It teaches the reader about the struggles of life, and how love/empathy play a large role in our lives. Mistry is by far one of the best Authors of our time and the tears that were shed for this novel will always be remembered.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from To be read more than once One of the best books I have read in years! Mistry's novel captivated me. I eagerly read through to the last page and yet I was sad to have arrived there; in a way, I didn't want this novel to end. Mistry creates characters that I wanted to return to again and again as they became very real, yet the location and culture of the book was new to me. The setting and situations are shocking, the book is eduational, but moreover, the characters are universally appealing.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Left me with a heavy heart! This was one of the most impactful books I have ever read. While slow and somewhat uneventful at times, you learn that those times are for you to become "attached" to these characters and their way of life which makes their heartbreaking journey & cruel, but very real, experiences that much more impactful.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant author - a new favourite Rohinton Mistry succeeded again in creating a wonderful tale full of vibrant characters struggling in a less than perfect world duing desparate times. Despite the long length, it is a page turner where you cant wait to learn what will happen next. An instant classic!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Shocking A Fine Balance was an eye opener. I became attached to the characters and felt sorrow or happiness as they did. The book was written in such a way that it forced the reader to put themselves in the characters shoes which was a huge culture and lifestyle shock. It was fantastic to escape day to day life and begin to understand the ways of life in India. Definatly reccomend this book to any one with an open mind. ENJOY!!!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing A Fine Balance depicts what life is like in India. The book is set around 1972, and focuses on a particular family and their struggles to stay together. This is one of the best books I have ever read. After reading this book, I found that I was truly grateful that I live in a first world country and have a nice house and food to come home to everyday.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal Book! This is one of my all time favorite books. Rohinton Mistry's superb writing transports the reader to India. It's as if the reader is standing in the middle of the incredible unfolding events. The characters are some of the most memorable I have ever read; ones of great strength and spirit. It is a deeply touching story about humanity, compassion, and love. I cried, I laughed and when I finished reading, I started from the beginning again. An incredibly moving piece of fiction.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Book I absolutely loved this book. It gave me an insight into another culture that gave me much more appreciation for the Indian culture as a whole and the caste system, which in some ways, is similar to our own "class" system. The story was beautifully woven with humour, humanity and man's inhumanity to man - how people help each other out even in the best and worst of times - I highly recommend this book. In fact, loved the book so much I went out and purchased another of Roninton Mistry's novels - "Family Matters" - although I must say "A Fine Balance" is a superior read over the second choice. I have recommended it to many of my friends and I hope that they enjoy it as much as I - I was sad when I turned the last page - I just wanted the story to go on and on. Thank you Rohinton Mistry!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love This Author !! I have read all of his books and love his writing ! These books take you to a different culture, and makes you realize how fortunate we are. Absolutely must reads for everyone, you won't be sorry ! Wish he would write another book !
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful, sad, beautiful This amazing novel takes you through the rollercoaster rides of four intriguing individuals. The book is beautifully written and really pulls you into the story. I was so drawn to the characters even though they were from a different time and very different culture...I fell in love with them. The story is very sad, but realistic...That's why I say it is insightful because it really makes you reflect on a great many things: family, friends, injustice, life. A beautiful story and a must-read.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My All Time Favorite I was transported into another world,. hardly believing it was a mere 34 years ago....The entire story shows abject poverty,unbelievable hardship , but never does the author leave you feeling helpless or hopeless. There was always a feeling of hope and redemption. The story reveals the true meaning of friendship, accepting your lot in life without complaint and believing in others. Even at the end, with the two reduced to the lowest of the low, there was hope. They visited their friend in her home and in a rare bit of humor, uses her brothers dishes on the beggars. You are pulled into the caste system, the poverty and the hopelessness of the time in India. One that bears re-reading.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A must read I loved this book and could hardly put it down from the minute I picked it up. It was a truly touching story and i fully recomend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Absolutely Great! wonderful book, beautifully written...
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A sumptuous read Rohinton Mistry's novel, A Fine Balance, offers a deep, intricate and complex story about the precarious way that life unfolds in Calcutta, from 1975-1984. The political upheaval that this country experienced during that period punctuates and illuminates the personal triumphs (few) and tragedies (many) that each of the characters survive. It iis an astonishing tale, baroque, operatic and exquisitely told, much like the sumptuous colours of Indian silk. and other cloth that the tailors Om and ishvar sew. Often bleak, sometimes funny, enraging and always tender. I loved this book and have been thinking about it for days.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing book best ever a fine balance is a book that took my breath away and also a book that was so well written that i didnt want it to end even though it was 700 pages long it was worth the langth....when you finish reading a fine balance you feel like you could get up and fly to india and meet all of the characters.. it was a book that will stay with my forever and also a book that i will be continueing to read for years too come.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply a Masterpiece Mistry's "A Fine Balance" is nothing short of a masterpiece. The novel beautifully tracks the lives of four individuals and manages to reach out to readers that have never experienced the conditions of 1970s India, yet the readers become absobed in the book and the lessons in the book forever become ingaved in the readers' minds. The book has the power to transform one's life by causing the reader to re-evaluate one's values and perspectives on life.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my top ten This is one of my favorite books of all time. Even though it is fairly long, I didn't want it to end. The story is wonderful and heartbreaking.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Depressing but I guess it's an eye opener I found this book depressing to read because it was so dark. I've never been to India but I know that class discriminations exists. If you would like to view India for it's dark side, I would suggest reading this book,but don't expect it to raise your spirits, because for me, motivation to finish reading the book was bleak.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Book You'll Never Forget Since Oprah has picked this book for her book club, it seems a little redundant to write a review. Nonetheless, this has to be one of my favourite books of all time. It is rich in the culture of India and exposes the outrageous 'rule' of Indira Ghandi and the influence of her idiot son. Although the politics are evident, they are woven into the lives of the very real people Mistry has created. The characters are full bodied and we care about them and their lives. Read this book - you can almost smell the spices, and yes, the slums.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning. Rohinton Mistry does a beautiful job weaving the stories of four individuals. By far one of the most profound novels I have ever read, and an education on India.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating, Loved it all I finished this book over 2 months ago and I cannot stop thinking about it. The author draws you into the characters lives so well that I feel that they are my friends and now I miss them. This is an excellent book to read this summer. Enjoy!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Two Thumbs Up!! This is an absolutely amazing book...Rohinton Mistry is a great author who captivates his reader. After reading this book, I read all his other novels and I have nothing but the best reviews. As a reader you visualize the characters, the setting, and the emotions of the novel. I would recommend his books to anyone who enjoys books of lifes hardships and truimphs.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful. Worth 2nd Read I read this book a few years ago. I had lent it out never to receive back. For my birthday this year I received another copy. I was thrilled to reread it. The author grabs your attention from page 1 and hold you till the end. I enjoyed as much the 2nd time and I did the first time read. Well worth the money!!!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting and Beautiful This is a book that stays with you long after you put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from very moving This book took me a VERY long time to read but it was totally worth it! The beginning is amazing! Moving and shocking, it really opens up your eyes to the world and its problems. About half way through there are some dull parts and a little pointless information. But the remainder of it is simply stunning! Overall A Fine Balance is awesome and I absolutely recommend it.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unforgettable? Yes. But not so good. I was looking forward to engaing myself into this book however I found it to be one of the most depressing novels I've ever read. You are drawn into the lives of all the characters but the tale seems to be so drawn out. I enjoyed the writing style and how it depicts India during that period, but that's all that really kept me interested in the novel.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's crazy...but a fantastic book! Even though I found this book to be a little of a slow start, I soon got into it! I found at one point I couldn't put it down...wondering what would happen next..how some of the people would get out of the situation they were put in! By the end, i was completely captured, wondering how some gov't could run the way they did...how people could treat the lower class like they did! This is definatley a book to pass onto others to read!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! The first novel I have read by Mistry, certainly not my last! Being familiar with some Indian politics and history, I never expected to react the way I did to this novel. As I read, I felt as though I went through a multitude of feelings experienced by the characters- happiness, sorrow, misery, gratitude, fear, anger, etc. I found I was glued to the book for a week. Once I finished, I longed for more.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving and Motivating I read this book as a book report for school recently, and it has vastly changed the way I think. The novel is written with such clarity and voice. It is filled with raw emotion and emapthy for humankind. I was completely unaware of India's history and culture. The country was shroud in the mists of irnorance. This book has opened my eyes to human suffering and has motivated me in ways that are undescribable. A must read. This book has the potential to change your life.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Touching Story I loved this book and could not set it down. We are dropped into the lives of our two main characters and follow the story well. I felt as though I was going through every experience with them. Rohin Minstry writes beautifully and is very descriptive and characteristic. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and will not forget this book.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You'll Never Forget It I knew limited facts about the history of the setting and found this book a gem because you get to feel what people of that time and place are feeling and thinking. It's also interesting because it exposes you to different classes in that society (rich, poor, powerful, unemployed, disabled, etc.)Very few movies or books can make you feel the way this book does. Don't hesitate to read it.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a Big Book Mistry has produced a wonderful story of the lives of four ordinary people in India a generation ago. This is, for me, not a quick read, but it is worth the time to get into the lives of these people. I certainly agree with all the praise this book has received. I will read more of Mistry.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow Amazing story. Grabs you from the beginning to the end. I couldnt believe I finished it...I wanted more. What a terrific book, so well written. Full of history, full of great characters that you really feel close to. India and its culture sounds amazing. If you want to be wow'd read this...terrific to the end.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from True Literature I grew up third generation from India and have never been close to it except for Bollywood movies. This book has given not only been an eye opener about the realities of India but also an education to people who have never been. I really enjoyed it and hope to see more excellent work from Rohinton Mistry.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fine Balance This continues to be the best book I have ever read. It teaches us to be thankful for our lives and not take things for granted. This is a must read, you won't be sorry. You won't be able to put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fine Balance This is the first book I read after a long time. I loved the details the author gives the reader. The ending was not so typical.... more like reality. It's definately worth reading.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent One of the finest works of English fiction I have ever read! This book is full of the horror, love, and humor that define India! Mistry does Canada proud!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Eye Opener - A Definite Must Read This book is THE Best book I have ever read. It is truly an eye opener. In this world, we take so much for granted and do not realize the difficulities and harshness suffered by others. It is very easy for us not to be happy and say that our lives are difficult but the author shows us that four complete strangers go through the worst possible time imaginable yet end up being one happy family for some time. This book is a definite must-read for people of any/all backgrounds. The only sad part is that even though the events in the story which supposedly took place few decades ago, are still occuring in this century! This book, once started reading, you just can't put it down until you finish it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fine Book. This book is one of the best books I have read. It's amazing complex novel with moving grace. I have never read a book by Mr.Mistry and I plan on being a long time reader of him.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from incredible book! This is one of the best books I have ever read. Mistry shows us the life of four people in India. You take in his writing with all your senses. I was immersed in the feeling from the book for weeks after I finished it. It is tragic, but leaves the reader with a sense of hope. A must read.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from High School Student Amazingly written, captivating and a very enjoyably read! Thanks Oprah!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A beautiful book A Fine Balance is a wonderfully written story where characters' lives come together and are interwoven by chance. The beauty in this book is found in the human spirit of the characters and what they are able to give to one and other. It was hard to put down, but kept me thinking after I did.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Almost as good as Saramago's Blindness This tightly-written story of four Indian people with differing backgrounds was entertaining. The inter-mingled stories were unpredictable, making for a very refreshing read. I highly recommend Mistry's writing, and I look forward to reading more from him. ALMOST as good as my all-time favourite book, Blindness, by Jose Saramago.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Moving Tale Of all 3 of Mistry's novels this is the finest. The struggle of these amazing characters for the survival of the fittest will enlighten you on life in other places and times. Definately changed my perspective on life.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant This book is simply brilliant. Mistry's writing reads like poetry, and brings out a real humanity, hard to find in movies, let alone books. The story is moving and so multi-leveled that you see this fine balance in so many ways. A must read!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping and Educational It would be pretty cliche to say that this book is a must-read, but that's just what this is. Staying true to the history of India, Mistry delivers a story of four amazingly deep characters and intertwines their stories like patchwork. To complain that the book is too depressing is wishing for something unrealistic. The truth and raw human emotion which seeps from the pages is unparralled and anything less would hurt the story. Mistry shows these characters acting in ways the reader may not always understand, but to simply accept the actions as character, will have you reading cover to cover in no time. A book that should be enjoyed and remembered, truly a fine balance.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Full Body Experience I found myself walking down the street with my nose constantly in this book. Any time away from it was like putting the best action movie on hold. The writing is beautiful - heartbreaking - breathtaking - and touched my spirit deeply.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life Changing A fine Balance is by far the best novel I have ever read. I feel priviledged to have been able to read this novel. Rohinton Mistry is truly one of the most articulate writers around. The detail he provides to the reader, makes you feel as though you are a part of the novel. After reading this novel, I felt grateful to be who I am. This novel has changed me forever...
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting characters The profound ideas and themes in this novel help to shape its reader into a more astute and empathetic human being. Its characters will haunt you, leaving you to think of them long after you have put the book down, it is as though they had literally crossed your path at some point in your life. Masterfully written with vivid detail -- a must read.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing excellent book This book is a must read the characters are so attaching and real .highly recommended
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing I have read many diffrent books and I consider myself well read, but A Fine Balance is simply the best book I have ever read. Dispite its size, about 700 pages, I finished the book in less then a week. The characters are unforgettable, and the story flowed seemlessly. Do yourself a favor, read this book.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can he get any better? This is a great read, Mistry takes us into the mind of the players allowing us to develop the characters as the story line winds its way from the hope we felt on the arrival to the city to the despair that came at the end. This is a book that you MUST read from the very first page to the Very last. If you liked Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True. You will love this too.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such a long journey Rohinton has rightly described the city of Bombay in his novels.The soul of this claustrophobic megalopolis has come out beautifully in the microscopic Parsi community which nourished and built this city.Rohinton more stories out of you.No one has represented this Indian city better than Rohinton.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Changes You! I just finished this book and as a East Indian Canadian who has been to India before - this book really opened up my eyes. I learned so much from this book and could not put it down. Very few books have the power to change the way you think. After finishing this book 1 week ago, the characters are still on my mind. The book ends with the reader wanting more. The plot and characters are heart wrenching. I could definitely read it again. Thanks Rohinton for opening up my mind further and making me appreciate what it is to be a Canadian.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Warning! This book really needs a drowsiness warning. I thought the book was boring! The author drags on every single detail, and changes scenes without clarifying and it confuses the reader.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Literature at its Best Having read and enjoyed Mistry's other books, this one is his best - and perhaps the best novel of the 20th century. The writing transcends the normal reading experience, the reader becoming literally entwined with the events and scenes. The characters become real and you share their happiness and horrors. A novel that reveals the extremes of good and evil in humanity and everyting that is in between. It is a life changing read. Reaching it's end you are greatly disapointment that it is over. I have given copies as gifts and will read it again. I cannot more strongly recommend a book. This is one of the top ten books of my life so far.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down I read this book years ago and I am thrilled that more people will finally discover it, thanks to Oprah's book club. My partner says it's the most depressing book he's ever read. I think he's wrong.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down I guarantee that you will be amazed at how quickly you fly through this lengthy novel. I wish it had been another 700 pages. I didn't want it to be over but I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best I ever read I am not the type of guy to read a 700+ page book, but A Fine Balance, I devored it. An incredible lesson of life; I am a different person now after having read this great novel.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous! A wonderful,heartbreaking story. When I finished the book, I actually missed the characters, they were so real. I laughed and cried. Don't miss out on this incredible book!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! Once I picked up this book, I literally couldn't put it down. The lives of four characters, from various classes all come together for a few months as they share a one bedroom apartment in an unnamed city in India. Slowly, the strangers come alive and change, gaining a bond that seems unbreakable. Human nature at it's finest!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A novel all must read! This wonderful novel has impacted my life in a way that is difficult to describe. As I was taken through the turbulent India of the 1970's with the four main characters I could not help but become attached. The emotional levels of this novel is one which I have never before experienced. I felt the pain and joy the characters were undergoing and sobbed at the end. A book I will never forget. Thank you to the author for creating an India for me.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fine, balanced story! This is the first book by Rohinton Mistry that I have read, and it won't be the last. I loved this book. It's the story of four individuals who become friends under extraordinary circumstances in mid-twentieth century India. I laughed and cried with the characters, who were portrayed so realistically. What happens to them is sad, often horrific, yet they keep a sense of humor and tenderness towards each other and other people who cross their paths. Rohinton Mistry is a wonderful writer.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beauty in the everyday. In "A Fine Balance", Mistry takes us into the heart of India of the mid seventies. The often times painful but nonetheless revealing story centers around the lives of four protagonists each with a very different discourse from the next. They find themselves thrown together in the same city apartment: Dinabhai, a widow who refuses to remarry and fights to earn a meagre living as a seamstress; two tailors, Ishvar and Omprakash, uncle and nephew, who have come to the city in the hope of finding work; and a student, Maneck Kohlah, from a village situated at the foothills of the Himalayas. Maneck's father has sent his son to a city school and that is where the story gets complicated. In a series of events, we are thrust ever so casually into the labyrinth that Indian society is - that order with chaos. Having returned from a trip to India recently, it was clear to see that I was missing tons of nuance that I might have understood better had I read this book prior to my trip. Placing myself in the middle of the discourse of this book - to me, as text, it reveals the complexity of human relations and the deep and crushing effects of corruption. A wonderful read. I recommend it to all who seek to effect a greater understanding of India, Asia and the world around them.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from They became my friends... Standing in the book store with the massive book, A FINE BALANCE, pressing in my hands, I wondered if I could actually read the whole thing. I came home that night, after buying the book, and started in on my year-long adventure amonst the political unrest and family lives of the touching characters Mistry brought to life. I laughed, I cried, I stayed up till 2am. They became my friends, and I lived with them for the year it took me to finish the book. This book will change you and bring you joy.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fine Balance A fine Balance was a classic for me. Having grown up in Africa and having visited family in India brought the reality of the caste system. I felt for Dina and the struggle to stay independent of her brother and not get into an arranged marriage. . Seeing the caste system where the rich and the powerful could force their ideas on the poor. I grew up in the system and saw first hand the dominance of the males and the upper caste. The book is very well written. It conveys the abject poverty in India, the condescending attitude of the landowners and the triumph of Dinabai,the taylors and the poor student. I could feel the student's parents trying to get him out of the small village,the determination of the tailors parents to change occupations and survive. It depicted well the beggars and the stark poverty in India.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Astounding Story After reading Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey and Tales from Firozsha Baag I attempted to read the mighty novel, A Fine Balance. The novel is awesome! Mr. Mistry caught each and every minute problems usually faced by poverty-stricken human beings at South Asia. This novel touched me right in the deepest part of the heart. It makes you move when reading some parts of the novel which are very atrocious. This is a kind of a book that can make people emotional. Mr.Mistry we are waiting for your next novel!
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oh, my! I can honestly say that this was the best book that I have ever read in my whole life...I mean, this super-thick book took me like, two days-three days tops-to read. I am always interested in learning about other cultures and this book inspired me to research more about the Indian culture and traditions. This book perfectly portrayed the sadness that often comes into life and I found it amazing how Mr.Mistry so accurately displayed a woman's feelings and thoughts...if only all man knew what women went through then we'd not have such complaints about them. I think that you should take this book to bed with you and when you begin reading you'll have to force yourself to put it down so you may sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you will look forward to going to bed so you can pick up where you left off; you may even find that you go to bed earlier so you can have more time to read before you have to sleep. Even if you don't like to read, read this book.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! A special thanks to Mr.Knoop (my OAC english teacher) for recommending this great novel. Mistry amazingly creates a fine balance between hope and despair for each of the characters in this novel and I recommend anyone looking for a great book to take a ride on this emotional rollercoaster.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fine Balance What a wonderful read! This novel not only draws you into the characters' lives, it teaches you so much about the politics and history in India. It is also a story I believe about people coming together and helping one another when so often the political and social atmosphere seperate people. I was touched by the characters' kind gestures of food, shelter, companionship, and protection in a time when everybody had so little themselves. Mistry managed to capture the kind heartedness of all the characters in a time of disruption, violence, poverty, pain, and fear.
Date published: 2013-10-24

– More About This Product –

A Fine Balance: Oprah's Book Club No. 44

by Rohinton Mistry

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 736 pages, 8.36 × 5.31 × 1.49 in

Published: April 5, 1997

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771060548

ISBN - 13: 9780771060540

Read from the Book

One: City By the Sea Dina Dalal seldom indulged in looking back at her life with regret or bitterness, or questioning why things had turned out the way they had, cheating her of the bright future everyone had predicted for her when she was in school, when her name was still Dina Shroff. And if she did sink into one of these rare moods, she quickly swam out of it. What was the point of repeating the story over and over and over, she asked herself--it always ended the same way; whichever corridor she took, she wound up in the same room. Dina''s father had been a doctor, a GP with a modest practice who followed the Hippocratic oath somewhat more passionately than others of his profession. During the early years of Dr. Shroff''s career, his devotion to his work was diagnosed, by peers, family members, and senior physicians, as typical of youthful zeal and vigour. "How refreshing, this enthusiasm of the young," they smiled, nodding sagely, confident that time would douse the fires of idealism with a healthy dose of cynicism and family responsibilities. But marriage, and the arrival of a son, followed eleven years later by a daughter, changed nothing for Dr. Shroff. Time only sharpened the imbalance between his fervour to ease suffering and his desire to earn a comfortable income. "How disappointing," said friends and relatives, shaking their heads. "Such high hopes we had for him. And he keeps slaving like a clerk, like a fanatic, refusing to enjoy life. P
read more read less

From the Publisher

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry’s stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a “State of Internal Emergency.” Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry’s prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Jacket

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry’s stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a “State of Internal Emergency.” Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry’s prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Rohinton Mistry is the author of three novels, all of which have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and a collection of short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag.
 
His first novel, Such a Long Journey, won the Governor General''s Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, and the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award. It was made into an acclaimed feature film in 1998.
 
A Fine Balance was winner of the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, the Royal Society of Literature''s Winifred Holtby Award, and Denmark''s ALOA Prize. It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and the Prix Femina. In 2002, A Fine Balance was selected for Oprah’s Book Club.
 
Family Matters won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for Fiction and the Canadian Authors Association Fiction Award. It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
 
Born in Bombay, Rohinton Mistry has lived in Canada since 1975. He was awarded the Trudeau Fellows Prize in 2004, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2009, he was a finalist for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize, and winner of the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In translation, his work has been published in more than thirty languages.

From Our Editors

In a small apartment somewhere in India, a fiercely independent widow is determined to remain independent. She employs a very small group of people to sew clothes and invites them into her home. Slowly, inevitably, the four become great friends, leaning heavily on each other for support. But when everything around them begins to collapse, each of them must decide for themselves how best to survive. Caste violence, gender oppression, and the perennial privations of the poverty-stricken masses combine in the past and present stories of Rohinton Mistry's compassionate characters. By weaving together the disparate lives of these four people, A Fine Balance itself achieves a balance of complete and utter despair and indelible hope.

Editorial Reviews

“A masterpiece of illumination and grace. Like all great fiction, it transforms our understanding of life.” – The Guardian (U.K.) “This novel has the courage to remember and to reaffirm who we are, one by one; it continues, in the tradition of the great novels, to celebrate the luminous and unquenchable human spirit.” – Globe and Mail “Few have caught the real sorrow and inexplicable strength of India, the unaccountable crookedness and sweetness, as well as Mistry.” – Time “A towering masterpiece by a writer of genius.…” – The Independent (U.K.) “An astonishing novel…full of wisdom and laughter and the touches of the unexpectedly familiar through which literature illuminates life.” – Wall Street Journal “A work of stature…in scope, insight, and above all compassion for human beings.” –Montreal Gazette “Those who continue to harp on the inevitable decline of the novel ought to…consider Rohinton Mistry.” – New York Times Book Review of Books “The story unfolds with the grace and beauty of a butterfly’s wing…extraordinary.” – The Times (U.K.) “Mistry has demonstrated once again the enduring power of fiction to make sense of it all simply by telling a story…Read it.” – Vancouver Sun “Every word of it seems like a fleck of brilliant light on a dancing ocean.…A major ac
read more read less

Bookclub Guide

The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your group''s experience of reading Rohinton Mistry''s A Fine Balance. We hope they will provide many interesting angles from which to approach this sweeping and magnificent novel by one of the most powerful of contemporary writers.

US
Item not added

This item is not available to order at this time.

See used copies from 00.00
  • My Gift List
  • My Wish List
  • Shopping Cart