Home > Kev's Blog > 29-Oct-2014 A Fine Balance Book

29-Oct-2014 A Fine Balance Book

Wednesday 29 October 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

afinebalanceThis month’s book for Book Club was “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry. I have read it before and loved it and I have read of bunch of his other ones also.

I loved the book again, I love the slow-paced build-up. I love the snippets into Indian life and different religions and customs but it’s not rammed hard at you. It’s good.

Obviously, it’s set in India which always puts it firmly in my radar, I love books about India. The 2 tailors, from a lower caste are definitely underdogs, I am always a fan of under dogs. Dinah and Maneck complete the key four characters, are an interesting mix of people and backgrounds but the story goes well together and I felt like I really cared for them, which is quite rare in a book. It follows that successes and failures.

Here were some cool quotes I’d bookmarked:

The proofreader nodded, ‘You see, you cannot draw lines and compartments, and refuse to budge beyond them. Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.’ He paused, considering what he had just said. ‘Yes,’ he repeated. ‘In the end, it’s all a question of balance.’

Which is obviously where he got the name of the book from. Very true.

But how firm to stand, how much to bend? Where was the line between compassion and foolishness, kindness and weakness? And that was from her position. From theirs, it might be a line between mercy and cruelty, consideration and callousness.

 This is one of the great truths, most people and society in general likes order, but you can’t be impassionate about choices, there has to be some give – it’s not a black and white world.

‘The rules should always allow someone to win,’ Om insisted. The logical breakdown troubled him. ‘Sometimes, no one wins,’ said Maneck. ‘You were right, it is a stupid game,’ said Om.

 I think this is a wry comment on life – no one wins, everyone dies, rich, poor, sick, well. Even if you lead a long and healthy and fruitful life you still get to see everyone you hold dear die in front of you.

‘So that’s the rule to remember, the whole quilt is much more important than any single square.’

 An uplifting comment … the meaning is obvious. Don’t worry about one setback – put it in to perspective with your whole life.

People forget how vulnerable they are despite their shirts and shoes and briefcases, how this hungry and cruel world could strip them, put them in the same position as my beggars.’

 yes, you may have it all now, but fortune, luck or karma have a way of changing everything, even in the blink of an eye.

‘After all, our lives are but a sequence of accidents – a clanking chain of chance events. A string of choices, casual or deliberate, which add up to that one big calamity we call life.’

So true, I often remark to Dawn that life is like one big random accidental series of occurrences!

Some additional links:

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