Rohinton Mistry

(b. 1952)

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(1952– ),

Indian writer, born in Bombay but based in Canada since 1975. His first book, Tales from Firozsha Baag (1987), a collection of linked short stories set among the Parsi residents of a Bombay apartment building, paved the way for the novel Such a Long Journey (1991), in which the hero works in a Bombay bank and becomes unwittingly involved in a scheme to divert funds into an illegal government account. Set against the backdrop of the creation of Bangladesh, it shows history as a juggernaut destroying and sweeping aside the lives of ordinary people, a theme also treated in the more expansive A Fine Balance (1996). This heartbreaking account of poverty and thwarted ambition concerns two brothers working as tailors during the 1970s State of Emergency: by the end of the novel, official corruption and their own naivety have left them not just penniless but physically maimed. His next novel, Family Matters (2002), written with great compassion, is the story of an elderly Parsi widower, ill with Parkinson's disease, and the emotional strains placed on his once united family. Unlike his countryman Rushdie, Mistry eschews magical realism for traditional, 19th‐cent. storytelling on a Dickensian scale.

Subjects: Literature.

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