What is distinctive about the Indian diaspora is that the Indians settled abroad do not share a common religion, language, cuisine, dress etc. It is a touching story of an Indian family in the early seventies, a turbulent time in India's history. They led to different storylines, which means the story winds up with many different little threads that should be tied up in the end. I kept reading expecting something to really get the heart beating or tears flooding but instead the author takes us down a series of avenues which might end in delight or despair but instead does neither. Rama calls forth one of the supernatural weapons that Viswamitra gave him, shooting an arrow into Maricha's chest.
But each time she succeeds another part of her dress gets caught. The New Testament, which is written way after the Magi die, is referenced a few times, as is Christ's death. It's most probably my fault and not the book's that I didn't enjoy it to the fullest for what it was. The king has decided that only the man who can lift the bow is worthy of marrying his wonderful daughter , whom he and his wife found in a furrow on sacred ground; the people of the kingdom believe that Sita is the avatara of the goddess Lakshmi. But just as with A Fine Balance, I wish he did not make the disgusting so aptly disgusting--I could actually smell the dirt and the squalor by just reading the passages describing that! Mistry writes in a fluid prose,never faltering the pace and gently unravels the life of Gustad Noble.
Such children grow up with their minds pulled in different directions by the different cultural values — the ones at home which they are expected to adhere to and the different values that prevail outside and which they are expected to follow as well-assimilated citizens. This wall is a source of great misery for the residents. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. The Parsis had to undergo economic losses, lowered social status and personal suffering when the government decided to nationalize banks. Gustad transforms from a stubborn, materialistic and awful person to an open-minded and more adaptive to circumstantial changes in his life.
In India, his Parsi origins make him an outsider to the dominant majority community. This urge to write a novel without closure was finally let free in Mistrys latest work, A Fine Balance, creating, as its stalemate chess games illustrate, a struggle against and with life with no clear winners. For example, Ravana was such a holy person in his youth that the gods themselves granted him gifts of strength and near-invincibility. It is as if we are actually in Delhi, India, in the Khodadad Building with Gustad Noble and his family, taking part in his Long Journey. I think many readers who came away disappointed might have felt that Mistry did all the legwork to set up a heck of a rollercoaster but then did not choose to send Gustad on the ride. As with his first novel, the author mixes historical facts with the characters' private lives. He explains to them that this is the domain of the rakshasi , who was transformed into a demon after she tried to seduce a holy man.
Leaving aside the political situation it highlight, this is about nostalgia, friendship, empathy,and sympathy. Sohrab, an artist at heart, rejects the plan. But this book did make me cry in the end, which also means that I loved it. Nearing 60, Gustad is tall and broad shouldered, the envy of sicklier relatives and friends. There's a lot of sickness and death, but I wasn't able to wrap my mind around the purpose for it, though I'm sure there's an allegory or metaphor there somewhere that I'm failing to see because I got bored with the story. I never knew that they practiced Zoroastrianism as I was of the idea that they were just another ethnic group.
Such a Long Journey touches several topics about India like Gustad's train ride to New Delhi and the pollution in the streets which brought back many memories for me. I finished the last page and was still wondering. At first this was pure awesome because Mistry would drop these little hints that made me realize there was an incredible back story; but then as this continued it became repitious and frustrating. I certainly got to smell it - from frangipani and sandalwood to rotting garbage and sewage. From the Trade Paperback edition. In fact, his power is so great that he snaps it in two.
I enjoyed reading through the book, but was very disapointed to find that there was no climax and conclusion. It also made it feel like so much of the text was really just filler. The whole story about the money being kept in their house for instance had great potential — would they be robbed? By the time the answers were revealed to us I didn't care anymore. Those who did not succumb to the foreign pressure and dispensation fought for their rights. They went abroad for higher education or better economic prospects. Update April 2016: I noticed, in connection with the banning of Naipaul's An Area of Darkness in India, that the University of Mumbai banned this book with alacrity upon the threat of violence from a rightwing political group looking for attention. Many people have said similar things.
He rants and raves at the unfairness of his situation in a way reminiscent of old Mr. It was his first novel, Such a Long Journey, in 1991 that established him as a writer of repute. It's such a nice website. A letter that Gustad receives one day from an old friend, Major Bilimoria, slowly draws him into a government deception involving threats, secrecy and large amounts of money. Long Journey is a simple, perfectly good book about a Parsi man in Bombay who's very nostalgic about the better days of his life - a life that's taking a turn for the worse amidst a national turmoil, the constant threat of war and unrest within the family. A Parsi whose family has fallen on hard times, works in a bank, and is asked by Major Jimmy , a friend from long ago, to hide and launder some money.