If one had visited urban India circa 1975 for even a month, the careful reading of A Fine Balance would be more credible than that of an armchair traveler. This novel is not for the faint of heart, as it deals realistically with the sadistic and depraved sides of human nature. Mistry brings a mesmerizing style and a heartening since of humor, but, no laughter.
This work also reveals a compassionate and caring side of human nature and an honest desire to connect with people, especially the four main characters:
Dina is a young, independently spirited widow who is a skilled seems just an entrepreneur;
Ishvar is generous and kind to everyone, and constantly encouraging his nephew, Omprakash (Om) to loosen up and fly right;
Maneck is a college student who cannot cease dwelling on his idyllic past.
The foregoing characters’ lives meet and eventually mingle and boost one another to a light-hearted and most easy-going state. The first three characters rise above their past and present predicaments, and, with their innate or learned good attitudes, do you go forward.
As this novel is complex in its style, it is meant to be read twice.
— Laurie Jones