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A Fine Balance

Written by: Rohinton Mistry
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 25 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers - a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village - will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future. 

As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

©1995 Rohinton Mistry (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Unexplored India to most of the Indians

First time I read this book of Mr Rohinton. He’s not only a genius storyteller, also a novelist having all good qualities by which someone become timeless by his writings. How the vernacular writers expressed this particular time of cruelty and emptiness of India after Independence, it may not be quite known to me, but it is my straight guess that they might not be able to picture such savage with continuous political commentary without hindering their Finest Political Balance which they have achieved and practised over decades in modern India. Hats off Mr Rohinton for his out and out fearless and such humane documentation. Your writing makes my eyes Watery Sir.

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recap

story is great reality of my younger days.it was great narration
it was nice to recollect

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Breathtakingly beautiful

One of the most amazing pieces of fiction. The story leaves a lump down ones throat almost creating an anxious helplessness to transcend into the time and be with the characters. You cry , you grin and you laugh struggling to find your own balance. Highly recommended.

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  • ros
  • 31-10-19

What a book!

A funny, sad, heartwarming, heartbreaking triumph! I loved the pictures, the sounds and the smells and emotions Rohinton’s writing brings to his readers.

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  • Carla
  • 19-04-19

Life is SUCH a fine balance

But these characters experience the full measure of the balance or imbalance... it is a moving tale of what life in India was for most middle /lower class citizens during the turbulent ‘70’s ... well told, well developed characters and a full circle story. It is WELL WORTH your time and credit!!!

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  • jaspal singh
  • 14-01-19

wow

loved it...will miss all the character after finish. awesome story ...a nice book to listen

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  • Jane Showering
  • 16-10-18

My favourite book ever

Sadly this book was such a compulsive read/listen that it lasted just a few days!
I loved the plot, the narration, the characters, alongside giving such a detailed insight into life in India in those days.
I cried and I laughed, laughing alot more than crying tho the story is tragic, there were so very many light and kind touches throughout.
I am bereft to have finished it and more so that no more substantial reads by this master storyteller are available on audio

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher Hegan
  • 26-03-19

Picaresque, epic scale, a Mahabharata for modern times.

This is one of the most extraordinary works to come my way in some time. The odyssey of two simple (very simple) tailors who step out of their caste, their destiny and into a poignant journey through India’s painful post-partum emergence. And Emergency. It is also an excoriating indictment of the Gandhi family’s grip on the country for two generations. Horror, brutality and corruption abound. And yet... Mistry’s vision is more complex than some black and white morality tale. I was reminded of the old aphorism that desperate times call for desperate measures. No simple answers emerge. At its heart however this is no political rant, but the interwoven stories of simple people who, if you have a heart, you will end up loving. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Neil Bottle
  • 09-02-19

Outstanding

This is one of the best audio books I have ever read.
I have traveled widely in India and it strikes such a cord with my experiences.
The writing is wonderfully rich and the language so well observed. As the story unfolds you find yourself immersed in the lives of these rich characters. It was so moving it’s hard to describe. The narrator was excellent and his clever characterisation of each person was so amazing.

I have a photo of a very young beggar child I took when I visited Delhi. He sleeps on the road side clutching his day’s wares. A few cheap biros for sale. The back drop is the array of luxury hotels off Connaught place.
It reminds me to give thanks for my very privileged life in the west.

read and enjoy

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-08-18

Wonderful mix of history and story!

I loved this book but found it hard to deal with the cruelty and the fact there was little redemption or any happy endings. Couldn't stop listening.
Loved the history of India in this period and the wonderful noble and tragic characters.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-01-19

Gripping and Tragic - Must read!

A beautiful piece full of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. Wonderful narration, listened to the whole thing in three days!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • laineya
  • 20-10-18

Perfect!

What can I say? I’ve been waiting for the audio version of this book for what seems like years. This version was well worth the wait.

This is such a wonderful tale, full of characters who you come to love with their stories woven together like Dina Dalal’s patchwork quilt. If you enjoyed the book you’ll love the audio version and if you haven’t read the book then don’t wait!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lotika Singha
  • 29-07-18

A must listen

A nuanced account of how ‘democracy’ fails the the common people, the heart of any society

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-05-19

Re-listen and well worth it

I loved this just as much the second time around. Epic story, so beautifully written.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lize vd Heever
  • 23-10-19

Immersion into Indian daily life

This story gives a glimpse of some Indians' daily lives by weaving together the stories of different characters from different castes, and is interesting for someone from another culture. Loved the narration too.
In the end the book is a bit long and would have benefitted from removing or condensing the last 3/4 chapters but nevertheless it is still a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-10-19

So Real So Sad

Lived the book - love/hate India. Ah India the place of colour. An amazing people an amazing diverse country.
Excellentky narrated. Probably the best so far!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-11-18

Uplifting and heartbreaking. This beautiful book is a must read before traveling to India!

I listened to this book before traveling to India and it opened my eyes to the lives of everyday people and the impact of the caste system.

The novel tells the story of many seemingly different characters who are all victims of the society they live in.

A beautiful book that will leave you speechless for days to come!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • T
  • 25-04-19

Brilliant story of humanity really well told

I love this book. Read it 20 years ago and am so impressed with the audio version. Extraordinary depth of characters and perspectives. Each person truly came to life to share their view on reality, a multitude of realities.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-03-19

India

This book showed me a history of an India I hadn't been able to grasp as a tourist. I've told all my friends who have been to india, are going to india or are Indian, to read it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bkr
  • 15-03-19

More than a Novel an Experience

This is a wonderful book, educational, entertaining, very funny at times, but also a harrowing story of the injustice, brutality and greed in India at a particular time. I wanted it to never end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-11-18

This shows a society at its worst.

This is a awfully long story that is really rather sad and makes you wonder how a society can do things to its own. I was always surprised how the author could find ways to sink us lower.

Although the main protagonists try to be genuinely positive, some actions don't surprise you at all in the end.

It left me dumbfounded.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-07-18

Brilliant

I loved it. It's so sad and terrible that it's a true story. A brilliant reading very enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kylie
  • 12-08-19

Dark but fascinating. HAD to find out how it ended

This book was pretty harrowing in parts and somewhat bleak. The moments of joy though were amazing. Made me really think about the tragedy that befalls so many yet they persevere. Learned a lot about India also particularly the "emergency" in the 70s- just unfathomable. I had to google it to see how much was true and distressingly so much of it was. A really moving and thoughtful book. Would recommend. Also great voice work here.

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  • Martin Hugh Harvey Caughey
  • 21-06-19

please credit

I could not get into the book. it appeared very elementary. please credit.many thanks
Martin