Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is my second straight read of Rohinton Mistry after “Such a long journey”. The strength of his books is very clearly in the colourful build-up of the characters. They are so real that you start reading along, thinking how easily you could be in this situation yourself.
The story of Yezad, his wife Roxanna, their children, dependent father in law Nariman Vakeel, Nariman's step children Coomie and Jal. The book toggles between Nariman's life - the joys and pains, as also his having to marry someone other than the love of his life. There is a very tragic incident involving both his wife and love which is revealed much later in the book. At the present time, Nariman breaks his leg and ends up being bed ridden for a period. His step children Coomie and Jal struggle to take care of him, and he moves temporarily to his daughter Roxanna and family’s place.
As part of a lower middle class family, Yezad and Roxanna struggle to make ends meet, and with this the care required for Nariman falls on them.There are very touching incidents revealing what a very hard situation can do to good people. While Yezad toys with ways to somehow make some more money, the children feel obligated to chip in as well. As in “Such a long journey”, there are random musings by the characters in the story about Mumbai, its problems, the politics and everything else.
After periods of struggle, the characters settle to a kind of troubled peace where though financial worries subside to some extent, real peace of mind is still elusive.
Do not expect grand plots or twists. Instead though you will find real people and live their joy and sorrow, as you read. And for that - the book is certainly recommended.
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