I seldom bother to write reviews. This review is here to simply echo my endorsement of this book. It's worth the time spend reading. Everything the other 5 star reviewers write is spot on. Buy this book, you will not be sorry.
I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.
I loved this book. The main characters face hardships and struggles while showing true friendship and resounding resilience. This book reminded me of Frankl's book, Man's Search For Meaning; except that these guys always had sweet humor. While filled with suffering, there was never a dwelling on the suffering and always a persevering spirit of hope showing how even in the darkest times, people pull together and create friendships. Throughout the book, there were funny adventures and surprising insights. I learned about the Indian people and found myself loving them for their ability to find lightness and humor amidst the suffering. Suggested reading.
If you want to really understand how the class systems in India really work for the lower classes in the 20th century but you need a good story with your history, then this book is for you.
I'll begin by stating that I almost never give 5 stars. I probably would have given 4.5 if I could. The first 1/3 of the book, I kept thinking that I would not be able to finish the book. I was essentially bored and not really caring for the characters. Once I hit the halfway point, I could not stop listening! Please, at least go to the halfway point if you are bored. You will find yourself sucked into a web of political anguish with a first had perspective. These characters get the real meaning of friendship and family.
A liitle hard to get into at first - but well worth the effort! I can honestly say this was one of the best books it's ever been my pleasure to experience. Also very informative if you're interested in India and it's history and rich culture.
Narrator does a great job with the voices of the characters, which because of the length of the book are sometimes hard to keep up with. It is well worth the trouble to keep trying to remember who is who and doing what. Very colorful and unfortunately real depiction of life for these people. One of those books that if you miss a line or two, you have to back it up to hear it again because each line is crucial to the story he is telling - so not good for mp3 players that don't let you back it up a notch. I found I had to pretty much stop everything to listen, just to make sure I didn't miss out on the details that make it so real.
A perfect listening experience for the long commute! The slow unwinding of this tale about lives so different from mine was completely absorbing. The characters' stories twine around each other with an inevitability that feels like real life. Dina's quilt, one of the central metaphors of the book, is stitched together from scraps into something beautiful; in the same way, this story suggests, our lives unfold.
I have just finished this book and the characters and story are still so real to me. I have just logged in to download another book by the author. "A Fine Balance" was close to perfect. Superb character development and an uncanny ability to draw the reader into the lives of the people and their surroundings. Highly, highly recommended!!
What a story and what a writer! The author created characters I cared deeply for: I was glued to my iPod after I started listening. It is now three months after I finished the book and these characters -- Ohm, Dina, Arraf Cha-Cha -- are as fresh in my mind as they were the day I put it down. The author tells of their attempts to control their imperfect lives with such tenderness and beauty I felt like I was looking at a watercolor on his livingroom wall -- rich with detail, drawing me in. The ending was perfect for this story. It is a beautiful listen about making what you can with what life gives you.
The story reveals the contrast between the haves and have-nots. Sometimes humorous, it deals with the intractability of one's own fate.