I have never in my life read a book so full of despair, every time you think there is hope and your spirits lift you turn the page and you get crushed by the reality of life.
And yet I could not stop reading “A Fine Balance “ or stop turning the pages so fast.
The book tells the story of four different people who struggle through life in India during the 1947 Emergency called by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Dina Dalal, Ishvar Darji, his nephew Omprakash and Maneck .
Dina comes from a well to do family, her struggle is for independence so she does not have to rely on her brother to live
Ishvar and Omprakash struggle , and I have to say the most, to overcome their Chamar — Caste and the status of being untouchables . Their story is heart breaking and haunting and just plain WRONG, makes me angry to think some people have to go through what they went through.
And Maneck who never had to go through a hard day in his life struggles with his identity, his relationship with his father and the feeling that he can’t measure up to his father’s expectations.
Each of these characters have a different struggle and I often wanted to smack some sense in Dina , Maneck and Ishvar because I felt some of the struggles they went through could have been avoided and are unnecessary but none the less felt for them and wanted them to succeed .
Not a lot of books leave me thinking beyond a week after reading and this book did. The characters came to life and I felt their pain beyond the pages and I felt they were real people and I wanted them to be happy . It’s been 3 weeks since I read it and the story still haunts me.
This book is cruel and depressing and AMAZING, a life-changing read, and one that I would be truly sorry to see anyone miss out on.
You have to, HAVE TO, read this book, all 624 pages of it.
Currently reading: An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon