Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Family matters - Rohinton Mistry

When I read Rohinton Mistry’s “A fine balance”, a few years ago, I thought that it was a beautiful story about Indian castes and politics (the story is based at the time of The Emergency and the sterilization campaigns of the ’70s), but I didn’t like the writing style at all.
I found “Family matters” a much better written novel. A little less interesting from the historical and political point of view, this book delves into the lives of a family belonging to the Bombay’s Parsi community. Mistry, being a Bombay Zoroastrian himself, is very detailed about the description of the community customs and traditions. I did like that aspect a lot.

Reading this book one can also learn what the situation in the city was like in the early ’90s, when a Hindu nationalist coalition formed by the BJP and the Shiv Sena parties was ruling the state of Maharashtra (that’s when Mumbai became the official name of the city).
The novel’s main themes are interfaith marriage, bigotry, loss of traditions, family grudges, fundamentalism vs secularism. Definitely a good read, especially if you,
like me, are into Indian culture.

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