A Fine Balance - Book Review

This is an earth shattering novel, the impact of which I still feel seven years after I first read it. I don’t say this lightly. With its stark portrayal of the barbarities endured by its main characters, A Fine Balance sweeps away any complacency the reader may have as to what life is like for millions of impoverished people in India (and elsewhere).  It is a life of daily humiliation and tyranny that cannot fail to shock and appall.  And this, I believe, is the appropriate reaction to the tragic events so skillfully narrated in this book.
Yet even in the midst of evil and tragedy there is a message of hope because A Fine Balance is hinged precisely on the infinite capacity of human beings to survive and to selflessly care for one another. A student, a woman, an uncle and his nephew reveal this message to us again and again. In these characters, Johinton Mistry has recreated the fates of millions throughout the world and he has done so in a way that brings them right into our hearts… and our conscience. A Fine Balance is truly an awakening.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2001)