Such a Long Journey

Such a Long Journey

4.6 8
by Rohinton Mistry
     
 

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It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One… See more details below

Overview

It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and rich in details of character and place, this unforgettable novel charts the journey of a moral heart in a turbulent world of change.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Short-listed for the Booker Prize, this intelligent fictional portrait of the corrupt aspects of Indira Gandhi's regime focuses on a bank clerk who becomes a secret operative as an Indian-Pakistan war threatens in 1971. (June)
Library Journal
Set in Bombay in 1971, this novel is both microscopic and macrocosmic in its portrait of the various lives of Gustad Noble--his family life, his work as a bank clerk, and, ultimately, his innocent participation in national intrigue. India's overall decay and corruption is evident everywhere, from the petty behavior of Noble's neighbors and friends to the double-dealing of Indira Gandhi's regime. Yet, at the end, Gustad Noble, with much of his previously placid existence disrupted, resolutely continues on his arduous journey of survival. There is one serious flaw--a much-needed appendix of Hindi expressions used in the story, with English translations--but otherwise this is an unusually superior novel.-- Glenn O. Carey, Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond
From the Publisher
“Mistry is a writer of considerable achievement.…Patiently and with loving humour, [he] develops a portrait and draws his people with such care and understanding that their trials become our tragedies.”
Time

“A seamless, gracefully written trek through a rocky period in one man’s life.…A rewarding literary excursion.”
Maclean’s

“This fine first novel demonstrates the bright-hard reality of India’s middle class.…Mistry is a singular pleasure to read, and his description of India is a lucid, living account.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“A passionate embracing of life in all its manifestations.”
Books in Canada

“A rich, humane work, undoubtedly one of the best novels about India in recent years.”
The Spectator (U.K.)

“The world of Such a Long Journey is vivid, lively, and comic – a rich and richly recreated setting.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Fascinating.…Mistry manages to convey a vivid picture of India through sharp affectionate sketches of Indian family life and a gift for erotic satire.”
New York Times Book Review

“A highly poised and accomplished work.”
The Observer (U.K.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679738718
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1992
Series:
Vintage International Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
194,874
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

The first light of morning barely illumined the sky as Gustad Noble faced eastward to offer his orisons to Ahura Mazda. The hour was approaching six, and up in the compound’s solitary tree the sparrows began to call. Gustad listened to their chirping every morning while reciting his kusti prayers. There was something reassuring about it. Always, the sparrows were first; the cawing of crows came later.

From a few flats away, the metallic clatter of pots and pans began nibbling at the edges of stillness. The bhaiya sat on his haunches beside the tall aluminium can and dispensed milk into the vessels of housewives. His little measure with its long, hooked handle dipped into the container and emerged, dipped and emerged, rapidly, with scarcely a drip. After each customer was served, he let the dipper hang in the milk can, adjusted his dhoti, and rubbed his bare knees while waiting to be paid. Flakes of dry dead skin fell from his fingers. The women blenched with disgust, but the tranquil hour and early light preserved the peace.

Gustad Noble eased his prayer cap slightly, away from the wide forehead with its numerous lines, until it settled comfortably on his grey-­white hair. The black velvet of the cap contrasted starkly with his cinereous sideburns, but his thick, groomed moustache was just as black and velvety. Tall and broad-­shouldered, Gustad was the envy and admiration of friends and relatives whenever health or sickness was being discussed. For a man swimming the tidewater of his fifth decade of life, they said, he looked so solid. Especially for one who had suffered a serious accident just a few years ago; and even that left him with nothing graver than a slight limp. His wife hated this kind of talk. Touch wood, Dilnavaz would say to herself, and look around for a suitable table or chair to make surreptitious contact with her fingers. But Gustad did not mind telling about his accident, about the day he had risked his own life to save his eldest.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Mistry is a writer of considerable achievement.…Patiently and with loving humour, [he] develops a portrait and draws his people with such care and understanding that their trials become our tragedies.”
Time

“A seamless, gracefully written trek through a rocky period in one man’s life.…A rewarding literary excursion.”
Maclean’s

“This fine first novel demonstrates the bright-hard reality of India’s middle class.…Mistry is a singular pleasure to read, and his description of India is a lucid, living account.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“A passionate embracing of life in all its manifestations.”
Books in Canada

“A rich, humane work, undoubtedly one of the best novels about India in recent years.”
The Spectator (U.K.)

“The world of Such a Long Journey is vivid, lively, and comic – a rich and richly recreated setting.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Fascinating.…Mistry manages to convey a vivid picture of India through sharp affectionate sketches of Indian family life and a gift for erotic satire.”
New York Times Book Review

“A highly poised and accomplished work.”
The Observer (U.K.)

Read More

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