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Such a Long Journey Paperback – June 2, 1992
Pierced by the Sun
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
In this novel, Gustad Noble and his wife Dilnavaz, living in a congested apartment building in Bombay, try to lead good lives and inspire their children during Indira Gandhi's rule in the 1970s, with all its political, professional, and social upheaval. India is on the verge of war with the Muslims of Pakistan, and though Gustad, a Parsi, is aware of political chicanery, he is far more pre-occupied with having his son accepted at a school of technology, doing his job as a bank supervisor, and supporting his family. Constant blackouts and continually deteriorating conditions on the street add to the frustrations of Gustad's life.
Then Jimmy Bilimoria, an old friend, asks Gustad for help, claiming that he is training freedom fighters in Bangladesh to act on behalf of the Indian government against Pakistani "butchers." Gustad reluctantly agrees to use his position at the bank to deposit money to a secret account, but he soon finds himself enmeshed in a spiral from which he cannot break out, his life turned upside down.
Throughout the novel, the wall outside Gustad's apartment building symbolizes the larger world of Bombay and parallels some aspects of Gustad's own life. At the outset, it is used as a latrine, breeding illness in the neighborhood but keeping the noise and tumult of the street out of the apartment house.Read more ›
If you, like me, grew up in a middle class family in Bombay, "Such a Long Journey" could very well be about a neighbour of yours. Mistry takes you on a ride around the streets and markets of the Bombay you loved, makes politically incorrect (but funny) jokes about Sardars and Parsis, criticizes the Shiv Sena and the municipality, and even adds a sort of preface to the deaths of Sanjay and Indira Gandhi. He makes you remember - with a lot of fondness - Rex Jelly and gum bottles with rubber nipples and many other things that once made up socialist India. He makes you nostalgic about the past, and captures Bombay in an amazing time capsule of turbulence, struggle and joy. Such a Long Journey also - plain and simple - tells a wonderful story about wonderful characters.
The best thing about Mistry's writing is that he is so realistic about the everyday things. He will translate word for word and make the spoken sentence more authentic. He will not explain a Gujrati idiom or Hindi swear word in a footnote, like many expat authors are prone to do. This enriches the experience even for a non-Indian - it just makes for better writing.Read more ›
While Gustad Noble's home life seems to be spiralling out of control, one son refusing to attend the right college, his daughter enduring never-ending bouts of sickness, and his wife feverishly invoking traditional treatments on all sides, he becomes anonymously embroiled in a scandal that reaches to the heart of Indira Ghandi's corrupt power structure, claims his best friend, and shakes his faith in his country to its core.
Gustad's efforts to clean up the wall of the Khodadad compound, for years an impromptu lavatory, yield results beyond expectation - transforming a cesspool into a shrine. The problems facing India in the 70's, religious intolerance and the aftereffects of partition, are reflected in miniature as the wall and the Noble's are caught between municipal corruption and the mob.
All in all, very much worth the read. I'm looking forward to tackling "A Fine Balance", Mistry's second (and longer) novel, also shortlisted for the Booker. Cheers
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Robinton Mistry's books, and the everyday perspective from the Parsi point of view. Something different that is well worth your time.Published 4 months ago by Susannah L. Sulzman
Rohinton Mistry never lets me down. Wonderful story-telling combined with the ability to bring to life an unfamiliar cultural environment. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Martha Rhodes
Characters with such depth, with totally relateable thoughts and feelings. If you liked this A FINE BALANCE is a must.Published 11 months ago by tamarajane
i enjoyed this very much. The writing is second to none, so descriptive and refreshing. i would definitely reccommend this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by mags dobey
Certainly the story telling style in the same league as R K Narayan simple and witty . At the end felt sad for the protagonist. Must read for those who love Graham Green genre.Published 13 months ago by Kindle Customer
Feels like you're part of the story. Was a little difficult to get into initially but a great book overall.Published 13 months ago by alaina sully