Literary Fiction Historical Fiction. Also in Vintage International. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first. Unbound Worlds Exploring the science fiction and fantasy universe. Stay in Touch Sign up. We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later. Noble is a hard working bank clerk and devoted family man. The book touches on many themes, political corruption, long term friendships, loss of loved ones, alternative medicine, and the mentally ill.
Such a Long Journey (novel) - Wikipedia
It is a well woven story, but as a first novel, perhaps does not go deep enough into some themes, and includes a few too many. The characters are likeable, Set in Bombay in , as India prepares for a war with Pakistan over what becomes Bangladesh, it tells the story of the family of Gustad Noble. The characters are likeable, the story unfolds well enough, but it perhaps didn't draw me in as much as I might have expected.
Mistry's second and third novels receive high praise, and for that reason I opted to read this book first. Hard to go back to earlier writing without a level of disappointment, so I look forward to those in due course. Three and a half stars, rounded up. Oct 08, Vaidya rated it really liked it. At various points I was reminded of these 3 Calvin and Hobbes strips: The house has been burgled, and while Calvin is able to sleep peacefully with Hobbes as support, his parents find their peace disturbed.
Then there are the friends who 'betray' him, friends he l At various points I was reminded of these 3 Calvin and Hobbes strips: Then there are the friends who 'betray' him, friends he loses over time. This could be the story of any adult. Any 'adult' who has ventured out of childhood and doesn't know how to get back, who's improvising, making things up as he goes, not having a clear answer for every question being asked.
Sometimes, things resolve on their own with time.
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Sometimes, you lose someone close. You say your prayers, pay your respects and get back to being an adult and running the family. It's almost strange the way Mistry embeds Gustad's childhood into his adult life. Like the point where he creeps in on Tehmul masturbating and the door-curtain reminds him of his mother saying "Goodnight" through the veil of a mosquito net when on a vacation with his parents.
I say almost because that's how it mostly goes. Random moments remind you of random events that are interlinked in strange ways. Some object, some smell or some sound bringing forth a hidden memory. I love the way Mistry is able to bring about humour in the gravest moments - like the funeral of a dear friend, multiple funerals in fact, of a riot where someone close to him dies.
When you don't have a character narrating the story for you, you tend to be a fly on the wall observing things as they happen. Mistry's style is to view different events through different flies, objectively, that the characters are ones he has you invested in over the past pages makes no difference.
Such a Long Journey
This is just a riot happening on the street with stones being thrown. This is just every other day in the funeral home where a dead body has been brought in with the mourning relatives and friends. The emotions that come with death are for the people, for you if you are interested in the dead person. Not for this fly. This fly at the funeral home does not know about the fly in Gustad's house or the one in Gustad's bank.
That same humour with which he observes life in the bazaar, in the brothel and the next-door Doctor who yearns for normal middle-class people to walk in and not prostitutes or mechanics, the paanwalla with his stories. This could be Malgudi and not Bombay at the time of the war! A better understanding of the political events occurring in the background would have enriched my reading of this, but even without, Mistry was able to catch and hold my attention, weaving layers of story and symbolism together, creating a sometimes farcical, bittersweet domestic tale.
I felt like I got to know this group of middle-class Indians and their microcosm of that larger world a little bit better. I certainly got to smell it - from frangipani and sandalwood to rotting garbage and sewage A better understanding of the political events occurring in the background would have enriched my reading of this, but even without, Mistry was able to catch and hold my attention, weaving layers of story and symbolism together, creating a sometimes farcical, bittersweet domestic tale.
I certainly got to smell it - from frangipani and sandalwood to rotting garbage and sewage. Mistry is such a sensual writer - he really has the capacity to bring you right into the world of his novels with these amazing details, characterizations and juxtapositions: And his characters are so alive , so large, containing multitudes, as Whitman would say. Really lovely and awful and fantastic and real - all at once. View all 14 comments. Mar 20, Judy rated it really liked it. I loved this book. I read it in India and for me it reflects all the ambiguity of this wonderful country; the corruption of its government and yet the generosity and charm of many of its inhabitants.
Gustad Noble is a character with whom ones sympathises from the start, a man who tries to do his best for his family and his friends in difficult circumstances and who is always doubting himself and his ability to negotiate the difficult world around him. May 11, Tonya rated it really liked it. Another masterpiece by Mistry, i'm overjoyed that I have found another prize author!
Set during the Indian war over Bangladesh, Gustad Noble takes us on a journey of fraud, corrupt politics, witchcraft, family feuds, a million religious relics and so much more. If you enjoyed A Fine Balance, then you're in for a treat. I liked and disliked this book for all the same reasons: At first this was pure awesome because Mistry would drop these little hints that made me realize there was an incredible back story; but then as this continued it became repitious and frustrating. It also made it feel like so much of the text was really just filler. I love interesting characters!
But I quickly realized that there were so many different characters that they all began to I liked and disliked this book for all the same reasons: But I quickly realized that there were so many different characters that they all began to feel like filler as well. They led to different storylines, which means the story winds up with many different little threads that should be tied up in the end. I'm positive one of the sons didn't even need to exist.
As in anybody's life, there are many different threads, different relationships, different circumstances. That's what makes life interesting. Fiction can function in a similar way; but as stated above, too many different threads can be cumbersome, particularly if they don't come together or if they don't become resolved by the end. In this case, I'm not convinced they do. I'm sure there's more, but frankly I'm bored with all that. I hoped for better, and was disappointed by the end because it all felt so inconclusive.
There's a lot of sickness and death, but I wasn't able to wrap my mind around the purpose for it, though I'm sure there's an allegory or metaphor there somewhere that I'm failing to see because I got bored with the story. By the time the answers were revealed to us I didn't care anymore. Still, I managed to find some quotes that I fully appreciated: It's all a family really needs.
A small bookcaseful of the right books and you are set for life. There's a character who paints a wall with different gods from different religions; I liked him. I don't know much about India's political tribulations over the years, and I know less about what was happening in the seventies when this story took place, but this was a nice insight into those issues. I hear A Fine Balance is something special, so I will still make sure to read that. Nov 17, Lorina Stephens rated it it was amazing.
The work is neither pretentious nor formulaic. And although there is no major crisis that takes place, no earth-shattering destruction of place or person, there is a sustained tension throughout the novel that keeps you reading, that draws you into the life of the main protagonist, Gustad Noble. The novel is set during the rule of Indira Gandhi, and is a damning indictment of both her government and American foreign policy of the time. There are several subtle but poignant metaphors woven throughout this narrative, the most memorable being the character of Tehmul, who is a physically and mentally disabled man with the character of a boy, and it is this pull of the innocent versus the carnal that mirrors much of the political and social turmoil of the novel.
It is a story that will nestle in your psyche and remain. Poor Rohinton Mistry - he must know that the downside to writing one of the best books ever is that all of his other books will consistently get reviews that say "not as good as A Fine Balance". This is indeed true, but this should not dissuade the reader from giving Such a Long Journey a fair crack as there is a lot about this book that is very, very good. Mistry's writing style is lyrical and eloquent.
His dialogue is written so that you can feel as if you are in the kitchen with Gustad and Dil Poor Rohinton Mistry - he must know that the downside to writing one of the best books ever is that all of his other books will consistently get reviews that say "not as good as A Fine Balance". His dialogue is written so that you can feel as if you are in the kitchen with Gustad and Dilnavaz as they have a pop at each other.
Such A Long Journey Summary
His secondary cast, including not-quite-all-there Tehmul and the superstitious pseudo-witch Mrs Kutpitia are entertaining and help to make the Khodadad Building feel like an authentic neighbourhood. I think many readers who came away disappointed might have felt that Mistry did all the legwork to set up a heck of a rollercoaster but then did not choose to send Gustad on the ride. It would have been easy for the author to condemn Gustad to many shades of tragedy if he had been so inclined.
However in real life when everything seems to go wrong at once, it is more usual to go through exactly the sort of despair that Gustad feels without actually encountering total catastrophe. In fact the usual outcome is a re-arrangement of one's priorities, which I think is what this book is about. Such a wonderful book!! Sep 03, Nita rated it it was amazing. Such an engrossing book I am in awe of his writing skills and his expansive knowledge.
But just as with A Fine Balance, I wish he did not make the disgusting so aptly disgusting--I could actually smell the dirt and the squalor by just reading the passages describing that! Mar 28, Joan rated it liked it. Elyse Thank you for reminding me I must read "A Find Balance"! Sep 16, Mar 24, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: A beautiful, bittersweet story of a small community in Bombay in The folk stories within this story are wildly fascinating, such as this: Yes, relativity strikes again as "Balance" is simply sensational.
But for a debut novel, "Such a Long Journey" is a spectacular entry into world literature. I suggest reading this one first before "Balance". And now, on to the next Mistry work! Apr 15, Asha Seth rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Those who like to read Indian Literature. Here goes the review. It stands true for all the things listed above and yet, you know what? You ll be surprised that you loved reading each word, soaking in what each page offers, grieving and cherishing moments along with the author wondering what exactly the author felt when he wrote the book.
Gustad Noble is a clerk at a bank. He is devoted to his family and work. He worships his traditions and values and a man who would risk anything for family and friends. Much against his will to lead a calm life, his way is strewn with bummers that cause him much distress, plaguing his heart with suspicions, hatred, anger, scorn. His balanced life is suddenly running off the track while he tries to manage things single-handedly. It also shows us snippets about the Indo-Bangladesh war in , just briefly.
There are few things I feel could have bettered the book in places it falls short such as vapid dialogues, script running over characters, and an ending that could have been well shortened. There are times you will find yourself just skimming pages for the depth of the details but not once will you put the book down. Because although slow, Mistry sure knows how to keep his reader indulged. And this as a debut novel is an artistic work and so many shades better than most other novels that are nothing but mere trash. Oct 27, Preetha rated it really liked it.
Adorable , heartbreaking and enduring! The soul of the book remained with me long after I finished reading it. Almost as if I had just met the people in the story and travelled a part of their journey with them! The book tells us the story of Gustad Noble , a simple and honest man, one who remains immaterial and inconsequential in the larger scheme of so Adorable , heartbreaking and enduring!
The book tells us the story of Gustad Noble , a simple and honest man, one who remains immaterial and inconsequential in the larger scheme of society's design, who like any other ordinary person does not demand much out of life, other than health and happiness for his family and a better future for his children. He believes that his struggles have been rewarded when his son gets through the IIT entrance exam. All in all through his characters , Rohinton Mistry reminds us or even teaches us a thing or two about friendships, loyalties and relationships and leaves you thinking about and questioning yourself on what really matters at the end of it all!
How come some authors churn out books and you wonder whether someone should have a polite word telling them to stop yet others produce wonderful novels but someone should have a similar word encouraging them to hurry up and write more! So it is with Rohinton Mistry, and whilst this as his first novel isn't quite the masterpiece that he would produce with 'A Fine Balance' is still a wonderful portrait of India in the 's and MIstry has the ability to create a story about a man and his family How come some authors churn out books and you wonder whether someone should have a polite word telling them to stop yet others produce wonderful novels but someone should have a similar word encouraging them to hurry up and write more!
So it is with Rohinton Mistry, and whilst this as his first novel isn't quite the masterpiece that he would produce with 'A Fine Balance' is still a wonderful portrait of India in the 's and MIstry has the ability to create a story about a man and his family and their domestic struggles and emotions whilst allowing you to see the corruption of the state and particularly the government of Indira Ghandi so whilst the reader comes away having been moved by a brilliant novel he has absorbed a piece of political history.
The story is about Gustad Noble who lives in a BOmbay flat with his wife and three children. He starts the book in conflict with his elder son who won't take up a place at the Indian Institute of technology and the son eventually leaves the house. The background to the novel is the beginning of a war between India and Pakistan as East Pakistan moves to becoming Bangladesh so there are air raids and a mysterious former resident who as part of the secret service leads Gulstad his friend into a suspicious form of money laundering through his employer bank. The book is both comic with brilliantly drawn characters and poignant as Gulstad struggles with being a father, a friend , and a husband but perhaps most of all a good man.
A really good book that I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend. Come on Rohinton pick up your pen again! Jul 29, Fran rated it liked it Recommends it for: Recommended to Fran by: Amazon when I ordered another Indian novel. I had previously read Mistrey's Oprah book, "A Fine Balance" and his collection of short stories, "Swimming Lessons" and this is not as good as either of them.
However, this IS his first novel, so I should cut him some slack. It is very good, just not as good as the other two books of his I have read. Then when I Googled Indian history, I realized that most of what shocked me so much was very, very true. This is a "smaller" novel in both senses of the word. It is limited to one family; they have less earth-shattering problems, and it is a shorter, quicker read than "A Fine Balance". But still it is entertaining, somewhat disturbing, and an excellent look at a world I never knew existed.
How truthful they are I am not sure; indeed protagonist and father Gustad tells his son to be skeptical of what he reads in the paper. But this is a book well worth reading, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Indian fiction, or who wants to learn more about India. I know this book is considered a classic, so I feel like I should have enjoyed it more than I did.
It took a long time for me to feel invested in these characters. The first quarter or so of it is a bit of a slog. The protagonist is the father of a family in India in the early s, and the story starts out with him being generally a jerk to everyone in his family while groaning about his family not being rich anymore.
Eventually he gets some actual problems and that is when the story gets inte I know this book is considered a classic, so I feel like I should have enjoyed it more than I did. Eventually he gets some actual problems and that is when the story gets interesting, and the more positive sides of his character are revealed.
Interesting aspects of the book for me were the folk remedies and magic, Zoroastrianism, and the way people interact with the mentally ill. This was one of the area in which the protagonist was revealed as a nice guy - he is very caring and patient with people who in other settings would just be institutionalized. The political comments about Indira Gandhi were interesting too but I don't know enough about her government to get much out of that part.
Jan 31, Imraan rated it liked it. Rohinton Mistry's style of writing involves giving vivid descriptions of the characters of his stories and of the adventures he takes them on. I enjoyed the characters in this novel and the personalities that they contributed to the story, but the story lacks a motive without doubt. As I read through the book I was wondering how the story would unfold and where the plot was leading to. I finished the last page and was still wondering.
The story, in my mind, doesn't come to a climax and therefore h Rohinton Mistry's style of writing involves giving vivid descriptions of the characters of his stories and of the adventures he takes them on. The story, in my mind, doesn't come to a climax and therefore had no real conclusion, but at the same time is not continued in a sequel. I suppose at the end of the day the "long journey" is ultimately the way in which the protagonist changes as a person and views aspects of life from a somewhat more mature perspective. I enjoyed reading through the book, but was very disapointed to find that there was no climax and conclusion.
Feb 14, Rucha rated it it was amazing. Once in a while, you come across a book which will stay with you for a long long time after you are finished reading it. Mistry writes in a fluid prose,never faltering the pace and gently unravels the life of Gustad Noble. Set in the Bombay of the early 70's and in a time when India was on the brink of war, this book is by turns mesmerizing, heartbreaking and nostalgic.
The neighbourhood of Khodadad Building, Gustad's workplace at Flora Fountain, the weekly visits to Crawford Market and ocassion Once in a while, you come across a book which will stay with you for a long long time after you are finished reading it. The neighbourhood of Khodadad Building, Gustad's workplace at Flora Fountain, the weekly visits to Crawford Market and ocassional ones to Mount Mary remind you of a glorious era gone by, when life was simpler and needs fewer.
Brilliantly written, and a truly enriching experience, this book needs to be on everyone's to-read list.
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