A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance

by Rohinton Mistry
4.4 186

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307523631
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/21/2010
Series: Vintage International
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 61,120
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay and now lives near Toronto. His first novel, Such a Long Journey, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and received, among other awards, the Governor General's Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book of the Year. A Fine Balance is his second novel, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction, the Giller Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize as well as a Booker Prize finalist. Mistry is also the author of Swimming Lessons, a collection of short stories.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


Toronto, Canada

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Bombay, India


B. S. in mathematics and economics, University of Bombay; B.A. in English and philosophy, University of Toronto, 1983

Customer Reviews

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A Fine Balance (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
ga4444 More than 1 year ago
This was a fascinating story, but the copy on my Nook was very hard to read since apparently a machine (not a person) converted it from print to electronic often resulting in nonsense words. Worst example: any word with an apostrophe (especially I'm) is converted to something indecipherable. This often completely breaks the flow of reading in trying to decide if the word is in Indian dialect or a misprint. I've seen this sort of thing in other books, but this one is the worst. I would recommend against bothering with the electronic form.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is given only 3 stars because the Nook version needs to be better edited for typos. There are MANY typos---you can still understand the novel but it becomes annoying very fast.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You will not forget the characters, their life journeys or their India. This book has it all! The only book in the past several years that I have given or recommended without reservation. Buy it, sit down and devour it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was long, over 600 pages, however I wished it was longer. I still see glimpses of the characters I met in the book in the lives of real people today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I finished the book over a month ago, I am still moved and enthralled by it. I am still recommending it. Although filled with horrific occurrences, the characters, their relationships and their love for each other continues to live with me. In any good book the characters become friends, in this book, they were truely a part of me, not only for the mere 3 days it took to read the book, but even today.
stebwood79 More than 1 year ago
It was a great read, brutally honest and sad. And yet the human spirit seems to prevail...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Painfully, emotionally hard to read, but then so is life to live at times.  This story made India and the people come alive to  me in such a way that when I spent a month backpacking thru small villages as well as crowded cities I was seeing India as if thru eyes that seemed to have already seen it.  I seemed to have already felt it, smelled it, and been hurt and fallen in love with it and indeed I had.   Mr. Mistry's writing had transported me there and shown me India's essence before my physical body had the experience. Just read it if you have the emotional fortitude.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny, sad, intriguing, thought provoking, and moving.
momoftwinsMM More than 1 year ago
Mistry, in his simple prose, puts a face to the nameless tragedies that befall the poorest and loneliest peoples in India. His characters are likeable because of their imperfections, their struggles within an without that draw us in. This story invites the reader to partake of the tragedies and triumphs, the humanity and brutality that exist within the Indian landscape. You are at once repulsed and drawn in. I was sorry to see the story end and hope to read more from this brilliant author.
redheadlady More than 1 year ago
Of the books I've read in my life, this one is my favorite so far. It is challenging and moving, heart-wrenching and inspirational. Even after hundreds of pages and a cover so warn by reading that it could hardly stay bound, I found myself sad to finish it, like saying farewell to an old friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Fine Balance is a well written book with a great story line. It allowed me to have a better understanding for the culture in India and the upheaval that was experienced during the 1970's due to the national Emergency. It is a book that is definitely worth the time to read but it is not the most upbeat book out there!!
BookJunkieMom More than 1 year ago
Others' reviews have said this book has a bad ending. It's not bad, it's ironic. Once you've read this wonderful book and understand Maneck and the world he shared with the other tragic characters, you will see. This is a very moving story. If you like books that expose you to different worlds and new ideas, this is a book for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From page I was wrapped into the characters' world. I lost count of how many copies I've given away. It is a must have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago in HS. This book made me smile, laugh, and it broke my heart as well. It is my absolute favorite book and I recommend it to everyone. It opens your eyes a bit to the world. I see life in a different way since reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those who fear becoming blaze about the hard-won rights and vast priviledges available to North Americans, this is the book for you. Four characters, each mistreated and without legal recourse in a corrupt society, find a way, through friendship and caring for each other, to render life not only liveable, but treasured. A riveting, inspiring story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most beautiful book I have ever read. I could not get the characters out of my mind for days after I finished it. I found that the ending of the book was utterly devastating yet fitting. I read this book back when Oprah first put it on her list and I can still say, that I will never forget it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have ever read, very moving.
J_Bo More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent writing. Great characters who make you care. Descriptive writing. Highly reccomend it
lilibunny More than 1 year ago
I needed to read the book for a class, so it was a serviceable enough copy for that. However, there is a typo of some kind on every single page. You'd think they could have at least had someone run the text through a spell-checker . . .
Jesus Morales More than 1 year ago
I read this book about 3 years ago and I find myself revisiting the suffering, and the wisdom gained from it, in this book over and over. It might seem cynical to say that "life is suffering" but understand that within this we make our worlds.  We make them in order to care about others, people or characters, to be invested in their joys and sorrows. What our world revolves around is this personal kinship we have to keep on moving forward for one another.  I really loved this book because it was heartbreaking, but delicately so. Maybe it was because I've had some experience living in a bubble of bloodshed and loss (military), or maybe it was was because I've been trying to find my own place in this world for a long time, but whatever it may be, this book opened doors for me. I would highly recommend that everyone with the capacity to feel high and lows of life experience this book. 
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AliciaJamar More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a little tedious in the beginning but stick with it. You won't be disappointed. I became so involved with the lives of these people and was rooting for them to make it. The crushing poverty and conditions the people live under will break your heart and make you weep. While I wanted a happing ending for them, it would have sounded false when compared to the rest of the novel. This is a book that I will re-read again.