A Fine Balance

  • by Rohinton Mistry
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 24 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals, punctuated only by small mocking advances, that start them on a trajectory towards unhappiness and despair. Yet, in choosing what they will do, they exhibit a basic dignity and humanity that belies their mistreatment as part of the underclass. By merely surviving until their load becomes unbearable, and then living on past that point, they have accomplished something.


What the Critics Say

"Mistry...needs no infusion of magic realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is magical." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Read this book if your heart is made of steal

I just finished this book and I had to write a review to warn you. I listen to over 40 books a year and this by far is the sadest, most tragic book I have listed to in 6 years. They don't get any grimmer. By the way the writing is good and John Lee is superb.

You learn much about Indira Gandhi government and her policies in mid '70's but GEEE BABA, it is such a downer. Had I known, I would have never touched it.

This book makes Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns look like comedies. (great books by the way)

You want an uplifting book listen to "Brother Fish"

You want a great book about India, you must listen to "Shantram"

Other good books:
"Pillars of the Earth"
"Potato Factory"
"The Company: A Novel about CIA"
"Up Country"

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- Darioush

Great reader makes a good book better on Audible

John Lee's reading of this novel is magnificent! The book is heavy in dialogue and he gives a unique voice to each speaker. There is a musical lilt to the English spoken by the characters and Mr. Lee seems to be spot on with his reading.

The novel itself is a Dickensian struggle against societal injustice. Along the way one learns much aboutIndia in the second half of the 20th Century. The caste system, religious conflict and the tyrannical regime of Indira Gandhi are just some of the subjects woven into the story. One word of warning--don't expect a warm fuzzy ending. Mr Mistry is relentlessly realistic.
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- William R. Creech

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-05-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape