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
About The Author:A worthy successor to V. S. Naipaul, Rohinton Mistry illuminates India -- particularly 1970s India under Indira Ghandi -- in finely wrought novels such as A Fine Balance and Such a Long Journey. He has a gift for infusing tales of strife with humor and unstinting detail.
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)
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
Place of Birth:
B. S. in mathematics and economics, University of Bombay; B.A. in English and philosophy, University of Toronto, 1983
Governor General's Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Such a Long Journey, 1991; Commonwealth Writers Prize and Giller Prize for A Fine Balance, 1995
Rohinton Mistry has not lived in his native India for many years; but like many expatriate writers, he continues a relationship with his country in his writings and has enriched his readers understanding of it. In his first two novels, Such a Long Journey and A Fine Balance, Mistry set his humorous, heartrending, Dickensian view of Bombay under the shadow of tumult under Indira Ghandi s rule in the 1970s.
Four years after publishing a collection of stories, Swimming Lessons: And Other Stories from Firozsha Baag in 1987, Mistry released his first novel. Such a Long Journey, which follows a bank clerk s unwitting descent into corrupt political dealings in 1971 Bombay, was short-listed for the Booker prize and won Canada s Governor General s Award. Next came A Fine Balance, Mistry s sweeping story of four strangers forced into sharing an apartment in 1975 Bombay. Again the Booker short list, and top Canadian honor the Giller Prize.
The selection of A Fine Balance for Oprah s Book Club in 2001 changed the nature of Mistry s career, as it has for many authors. While already respected, he had now earned a recognition with a new readership in the hundreds of thousands a readership that was by and large unlikely to pick up a sprawling book set in 1970s India. Mistry told the show, [India] remains my focus and makes it all worthwhile because of the people their capacity for laughter, their capacity to endure .Perhaps my main intention in writing this novel was to look at history from the bottom up.
As a result of the Oprah publicity, a greater weight of expectation may have rested on Mistry s third novel than it might have otherwise; this is true not only because of the increased pairs of eyes on Mistry s work, but because he is a writer who is clearly still evolving. His earlier books encountered some criticism for heavyhandedness, particularly where the injection of political and social commentary were concerned. In 2002 s Family Matters, Mistry moves away from a charged national backdrop and focuses more on family politics, though his keen observance of Indian culture remains a strong element. Charting the effects of one partriarch s physical decline on his extended family, Family Matters moves forward in Bombay time to the mid-1990s and uses the Vakeel clan as a lens through which the author views (critically) religious fundamentalism.
Mistry s consistent performance as a novelist, and ever growing awareness of his talents among American readers, promises a long and fruitful career. One Atlantic reviewer, beginning a review of Family Matters, put it this way: [Mistry] has long been recognized as one of the best Indian writers; he ought to be considered simply one of the best writers, Indian or otherwise, now alive.
Although he left India in 1975 and does not often go back, Mistry told a British magazine that he feels no hindrance in writing about his home country. "So far I have had no difficulty writing about it, even though I have been away for so long," he said. "All fiction relies on the real world in the sense that we all take in the world through our five senses and we accumulate details, consciously or subconsciously. This accumulation of detail can be drawn on when you write fiction..."
After emigrating to Toronto in 1975, Mistry got a job as a bank clerk and ascended to the supervisor of customer service after a few years. His dissatisfaction in the job led to his taking classes in English, first at York College, and ultimately pursuing a degree part-time at the University of Toronto.
Mistry had no ambitions to be a writer until he got to Canada and began taking classes in literature at the University of Toronto. Encouraged by his wife, he set out to win a university literary contest by writing his first short story. He called in sick from work, devoted several days to the story, entered it, and won the contest.
|Book:||Such A Long Journey|
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Number of Pages:||352|
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