How to praise this book? It is horrific, funny, depressing, uplifting, beautiful and shocking. It is readable without the cloying prose that has stilted many other books on India, and leaves the reader with a kinship and understanding of the characters that makes a novel truly remarkable. Please read this book, it will make you look at your own life in an entirely different way, and give you and understanding of another part of the world that you may never otherwise gain.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Lesley West (Beatleman1ac)
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
The setting of Mistry's quietly magnificent second novel (after the acclaimed Such a Long Journey) is India in 1975-76, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, defying a court order calling for her resignation, declares a state of emergency and imprisons the parliamentary opposition as well as thousands of students, teachers, trade unionists and journalists. These events, along with the government's forced sterilization campaign, serve as backdrop for an intricate tale of four ordinary people struggling to survive. Naive college student Maneck Kohlah, whose parents' general store is failing, rents a room in the house of Dina Dalal, a 40-ish widowed seamstress. Dina acquires two additional boarders: hapless but enterprising itinerant tailor Ishvar Darji and his nephew Omprakash, whose father, a village untouchable, was murdered as punishment for crossing caste boundaries.