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A Fine Balance Audiobook

A Fine Balance

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Publisher's Summary

In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals, punctuated only by small mocking advances, that start them on a trajectory towards unhappiness and despair. Yet, in choosing what they will do, they exhibit a basic dignity and humanity that belies their mistreatment as part of the underclass. By merely surviving until their load becomes unbearable, and then living on past that point, they have accomplished something.

©1995 Rohinton Mistry; (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Mistry...needs no infusion of magic realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is magical." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (874 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.5 (545 )
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1 star
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Story
4.6 (545 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cherolyn Southfield, MI, United States 01-14-13
    Cherolyn Southfield, MI, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Disturbing, enlighting and profound"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Fine Balance to be better than the print version?

    I did not read the print version.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Deena Dalal, the women who brought together the tailors and the student. She is a strong character, going against the cultural grain. Her world was small in terms of those she trusted and loved. Her choices shaped a life for her that in the end resulted in being where she fought hard not to be.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes I have. I've heard him read Ken Follete's novels. His German accent was very effective in those narratives. To hear him speak in the Indian tongue was very impressive. His delivery of the story was very dramatic and believable. Each time I listened to the story, I was totally transported into the scene.


    If you could rename A Fine Balance, what would you call it?

    Quilt of Life


    Any additional comments?

    What made this book so profound was the fact that both tailors and Deena Bi learned to accept their lives in the end and settled into a way of being with little complaint. Manac, on the other hand, had a bright future. He had money that he earned in Dubai. He had his father's business to run. He, however, could not see past his own feelings of guilt, unwantedness and despair. He allowed the conditions that he saw drag him down into depression and ultimately suicide. What a pity!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peter sandisfield, MA, United States 11-29-12
    peter sandisfield, MA, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    REVIEWS
    16
    1
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    Story
    "Great book poor download"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Would be perfect except file keeps crashing iPod with 1 hr left in chapter 1...NO HELP FROM AUDIBLE!!! Have erased the ipod file and tried new downloading...to no avail. Their customer service really bites.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alberto La Jolla, CA, United States 11-12-12
    Alberto La Jolla, CA, United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Makes you feel like you are part of the story"
    What did you love best about A Fine Balance?

    Each story part is intriging on its own and blends to the whole story very well.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Its realism


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    One of the best


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebekah Hazleton Virginia, USA 08-13-12
    Rebekah Hazleton Virginia, USA 08-13-12 Member Since 2016

    beccababes

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    6
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "this book may change your life"

    The characters in this book are so artfully drawn that you come to feel that you know them as friends. The plot is compelling, uplifting at times and heart breaking throughout. For those put off by this, it is important to know that this is how life is indeed for many people in this world, we can't close our eyes to it. The narrator is superb. I can't recommend this book highly enough, but take the second sentence of this review to heart, make sure the timing is right for you to receive all that Mistry has to offer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Arlington, MA, United States 08-04-12
    C. Arlington, MA, United States 08-04-12 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    13
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    "heartbreaking; heartwarming"
    What did you love best about A Fine Balance?

    wow -- such a powerful story. Loved it. Made me cry, smile, and be grateful.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Booklover 12-14-11
    Booklover 12-14-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Outstanding narration, nuanced story"

    Very well-written, nuanced story-telling. The author captures many levels of humanity and traverses the political landscape with wry satire. The dialogue is materful, lent additional authenticity by the outstanding narration (reason alone to buy this book)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ami 09-25-11
    Ami 09-25-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "long book of hard life stories with a crap ending."
    What would have made A Fine Balance better?

    Just like listening to a long hard life that wears you out and end up with a boring ending. I cant believe I went through all that for that ending. Way too much like anyone if another counties life that is just always hard and a battle just to get through the crap they are served undeservingly. All for a bad ending.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Rohinton Mistry again?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin Olathe, KS, United States 12-02-10
    Dustin Olathe, KS, United States 12-02-10 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
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    "Read this if you think your life is rough"

    This might be the most tragic, heart-wrenching, and yet one of the best books I've ever read. This book is grapes of wrath on steroids. For all the tragedy, this book will inspire you with its struggle and make you realize how important friendships and family are in your life. I disagree with those who were unhappy with the ending. It isn't the Count of Monte Cristo, and some of the more villainous characters never get what they've got coming to them, but I actually love how the author chose to leave things. If you know nothing of India and are interested, this is an interesting look into the politics and culture of that nation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Petersburg, PA, United States 09-24-10
    Patricia Petersburg, PA, United States 09-24-10 Member Since 2016
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    "Do not miss this one"

    Started a bit slow but WOW! Sucks you in and drives home the point. You get to know interesting people and you care what happens to them. Well written and well narrated. A bit of a downer but a terrific story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 09-09-10
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 09-09-10 Member Since 2015

    I enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight, Mistborn, GoT. Last read: Shadows of Self

    HELPFUL VOTES
    169
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    4
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    "Excellent but the end couldnt get any more grimmer"

    I gave it 4 stars because Mr Mistry has kept it all real. So real that it saddens you in the end. I understand what the author was aiming at but an instant downfall of all protagonists was a little extreme. Before picking the book, I read reviews how depressing the end could be so I was anticipating a lot of things. But the way this story unfolds, you can foresee few things and that sends chills down your spine. India in itself during that decade had a very corrupted bureaucratic government, and if you introduce national emergency on it, hell breaks loose. I would still hear people justifying what Indira Gandhi was trying to achieve, they should definitely read this book.

    Finally, 'A Fine Balance' is definitely not an apt name for this book. There is no sense of equilibrium here. The book is a great read and an interesting perspective from the people who suffer the most when governments go rogue. The people who swear to oath to protect its citizens has the capability to destroy lives with their single stroke of pen or words. I would definitely recommend this book but readers should anticipate the grim end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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