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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Fine Balance/Mistry, Rohint/Paper/057123058X/S020-E
Faber and Faber
Set in mid-1970s India, A Fine Balance is a subtle and compelling narrative about four unlikely characters who come together in circumstances no one could have foreseen soon after the government declares a "State of Internal Emergency". It is a breathtaking achievement: panoramic yet humane, intensely political yet rich with local detail; and, above all, compulsively readable.
Winner of the 1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize. Shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize.
"A masterpiece of illumination and grace. Like all great fiction, it transforms our understanding of life." - Guardian.
"Mistry is a master blender of the picaresque and the tragic... To say he captures the textures of India well and creates larger-than-life characters is to note the least of his achievements. If anything, his success is to make life seem so much larger than the characters - a far tougher task for the novelist... Enthralling." - Observer.
"A subtle and polished work which captures, with a cinematic eye worthy of Satyajit Ray, the tragi-comedy that is the pressing preoccupation of most Indians: how to survive in the cruel and changing world of today's India... Mistry's prose, quiet and dispassionate but interlaced with humour, brings this crumbling edifice to life... His message is powerful and direct." - The Times.
"This is a work of genius. I cannot begin to review it without saying so. It should be read by everyone who loves books, win every prize, make its author a millionaire... A Fine Balance is the India novel, the novel readers have been waiting for ever since E. M. Forster and J. G. Farrell." - Literary Review.