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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 (959 )
5 star
 (589)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.5 (626 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.6 (624 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    R. Englert 04-19-13
    R. Englert 04-19-13

    Candid reviews...

    ratings
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    3
    3
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    Story
    "An immersive experience"

    I would never had been able to stick through the print version of this novel, but as an audiobook, I was blown away. The narrator does an amazing job of bringing the characters to life and infusing them with personality. The story itself is intense but enjoyable, nonetheless.

    I would suggest this book to anyone ready to step out of their comfort zone. Truly an amazing listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carol 03-18-13
    carol 03-18-13 Member Since 2016

    love books,cats,computers,information

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    45
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    "India's poor and the caste system"

    I found this book hard to put down. It is a dark story and seems like there is no happiness or very little in this book. It is raw and dangerous-not for everybody. Beggars, people who are dirt poor, and evil people in authority; that is who you will meet in this book. BUT there are people who try to rise above their circumstances and are beaten down. I liked reading it but it was disturbing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce 03-11-13
    Joyce 03-11-13 Member Since 2016
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    2
    1
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    "Best Audio Book"
    What made the experience of listening to A Fine Balance the most enjoyable?

    I listened to a Fine Balance over a six week period during my daily 70 minutes run on the treadmill. Strangely, the struggles and pains of Om and Ashraf and their determination to keep on going no matter what, kept me going on that treadmill every morning when I felt that I had no energy to complete the course.

    Although, apparently, fiction, I don't believe this story is too far detached from reality and I for one, can image that hundreds, if not thousands who have shared similar experiences.

    It has forever changed my perception of Indian rural and urban society life in general.

    Africans would most definitely identify with several aspects of this book; and realize that, the realities of their African societies are not as alien, unique and/or far- fetched as they and the rest of the world imagine them to be.

    I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys understanding cultures beyond their own.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra 02-23-13
    Debra 02-23-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engrossing story"

    Beautifully written and beautifully read completely engrossing tale of 4 lives that become intertwined for one year of their lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cherolyn Southfield, MI, United States 01-14-13
    Cherolyn Southfield, MI, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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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    16
    1
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    "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

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    Overall
    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
    13
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    0
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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
    13
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    25
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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

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