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By Rohinton Mistry

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that keep in mind the paintings of Charles Dickens, this fabulous novel captures all of the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.

The time is 1975. where is an unnamed urban by way of the ocean. the govt. has simply declared a nation of Emergency, in whose upheavals 4 strangers--a lively widow, a tender scholar uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and tailors who've fled the caste violence in their local village--will be thrust jointly, pressured to percentage one cramped condominium and an doubtful destiny.

As the characters circulate from mistrust to friendship and from friendship to like, A superb Balance creates an everlasting landscape of the human spirit in an inhuman nation.

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One person I saw almost daily was a clerk in the manuscript room of the Salar Jung Museum. I'll call him Abd ai-Salim. Over tea one morning I brought the topic round yet again to Shia rituals and the local Shia men's groups. Did he know of any such groups in Hyderabad? Exasperated, Abd ai-Salim set down his teacup and said that yes, such groups existed, but they were not worth the time and attention of an educated person like myself. Why not, I asked. Because, he said with evident irritation, these groups were uneducated.

Until now I'd been fine with the prospect of our expedition. Nervousness, however, is contagious. Now he was getting me worried. "What I mean is, you don't have to go tomorrow. Not if you don't want to. " He stared at me, looked away again. "Besides, the place will be very crowded. " The place to which he referred was the Hazrat Abbas ka Dargah, a Shia shrine in Hyderabad's Old City neighborhood. The shrine was consecrated to Abbas, one of the most revered of the Karbala martyrs. "Very hot," he insisted.

They exchanged glances "Fourteen. " "Happy coincidence," I said. "Not a coincidence," the poet assured me. " I nodded solemnly, trying to show due seriousness in response to a verse of scripture; but then he clapped his hands and smiled. " We'd barely left the hotel driveway before the Ambassador stalled. " Muhsin let out the clutch. " We coasted in neutral. Near the bottom the engine caught. " We were off. As we headed into the city I took out my notebook and the list of questions I'd prepared.

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A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

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