Mistry, Rohinton: A Fine Balance
“Those who continue to harp on the decline of the novel ought to consider Rohinton Mistry. He needs no infusion of magic realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his prose, is magical.” So said The New York Times. This devastating novel about life among the dispossessed during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule is so heartbreaking I had to set it aside a number of times to catch my breath—even during this second read. A novel that puts you in touch with humanity, makes you want to be a better person, and gives voice to those otherwise inarticulate and dumb. I also found myself pondering the NYT on magic realism. It does sometimes provide a glaze for an otherwise cracked and porous story, unable to recognize that walking on earth is as magical as walking on water, something we seem unable to appreciate from the bubbles of our comfort zones.