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.
A Fine Balance
One of the finest examples of story telling in a long time.
Balancing many things.
This book is a glimpse into India during the Indira Ghandi "Emergency" era, and harkens back to the Partition in 1947. It focuses on a Dina Dalal, a Parsi woman who refuses an arranged marriage, and tries to make it on her own as a tailor. She eventually hires two Hindu tailors, and shares her residence with them and a young student. The book illustrates tragic historical events through the eyes of truly lovable characters in all their triumphs and flaws. Much of the book depicts horrifying events, but somehow the beauty of individual humanity shines through. Political corruption, caste violence, religious tension, poverty, and contradictory cruelty are all stitched into Dina's quilt. Even though the book is long, the language is beautiful, and the horrors are balanced out with true humor an affection. Many events of this book are echoed in Salman Rusdie's _Midnight's Children_ but as a fantasy. _A Fine Balance_ is a truly human experience. John Lee, the reader of the audio version is a master of characterization, and makes brings each character to life as fully rounded individual. There are many factors that are brought into balance by this book, hope, despair, pain, love, humor and tragedy. It's a large undertaking, but very rewarding. I have read and listened to this book many times, and each time marvel at something new, and learn more about history and humanity.