Monday, March 6, 2017

BOOK: Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry, 480 pages

Booker Shortlist 2002

I've had this book for a long time, as it sat patiently, waiting to be read. I read A Fine Balance back in 2004, and then the rest of Mistry's books: Tales from Firozsha Bay (short stories)  and Such a Long Journey, even a short story book, The Scream.  And, I am realizing that Mistry hasn't published a new book since 2002. ( The short story was in 2006.) Come on fella, you write such good books, we'd like another one!

This one is a family story, set in Bombay, dealing with an aging father. Families are complicated and messy and supportive and not, all at the same time. What I liked was how similar families are every where, and how real the characters were.

Summary from Amazon:
At the age of seventy-nine, Nariman Vakeel, already suffering from Parkinson’s disease, breaks an ankle and finds himself wholly dependent on his family. His step-children, Coomy and Jal, have a spacious apartment (in the inaptly named Chateau Felicity), but are too squeamish and resentful to tend to his physical needs. 

Nariman must now turn to his younger daughter, Roxana, her husband, Yezad, and their two sons, who share a small, crowded home.

The family is Parsi, a minority in Bombay. The added pressure on their finances strains Yezad and Roxana's relationship. Yezad was so interesting - in some ways a bad guy (impatient and cranky), but also a good guy (kind and trying his best). He was just flawed, not happy with how life has turned out but helpless to make many changes. Really, not much happens but at the time, everything is a big deal. Mistry writes such great characters, dealing with tough situations that by the end of the book, the reader is cheering for things to turn out (relatively) okay, and I did drop a few tears, both happy and sad.