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Such a Long Journey (1991)

de Rohinton Mistry

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,465269,307 (3.9)104
It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and rich in details of character and place, this unforgettable novel charts the journey of a moral heart in a turbulent world of change.… (més)
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» Mira també 104 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 26 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Pales in comparison to his other better novels (but then again this was his first novel). Still a good read nonetheless, with props to Gustad Noble's sympathetic nature, hilarious accounts of life in a dusty India, set in the 60s-70s and the familiar heart wrenching, often wretched character plotlines that Mistry is (in)famous for. ( )
  georgeybataille | Jun 1, 2021 |
lush, great character development
  Renaissancereader | Dec 16, 2020 |

Update April 2016: I noticed, in connection with the banning of Naipaul's An Area of Darkness in India, that the University of Mumbai banned this book with alacrity upon the threat of violence from a rightwing political group looking for attention. All over the world free speech is being eroded in universities, ironically from both the left side of the divide and the right. It is something both sides apparently agree upon, that people should only be allowed to say what their side wants to hear. So in the end, what is the difference between a criminal group of thugs in India arguing for the banning of a book and those of quite a different political stance who recently fought to stop Germaine Greer, a noted public speaker and thinker for 50 years, from appearing on university soil?

You can find Mistry's own reaction to this here: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rohinton-mistry-protests-withdrawal-of-boo...

I quote from it:


“As for the grandson of the Shiv Sena leader, the young man who takes credit for the whole pathetic business, who admits to not having read the book, just the few lines that offend him and his bibliophobic brethren, he has now been inducted into the family enterprise of parochial politics, anointed leader of its newly minted “youth wing.” What can — what should — one feel about him? Pity, disappointment, compassion? Twenty years old, in the final year of a B.A. in history, at my own Alma Mater, the beneficiary of a good education, he is about to embark down the Sena's well-trodden path, to appeal, like those before him, to all that is worst in human nature.

“Does he have to? No. He is clearly equipped to choose for himself. He could lead, instead of following, the old regime. He could say something radical — that burning and banning books will not feed one hungry soul, will not house one homeless person nor will it provide gainful employment to anyone [unless one counts those hired to light bonfires], not in Mumbai, not in Maharashtra, not anywhere, not ever.

“He can think independently, and he can choose. And since he is drawn to books, he might want to read, carefully this time, from cover to cover, a couple that would help him make his choice. Come to think of it, the Vice-Chancellor, too, may find them beneficial. First, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, in order to consider the options: step back from the abyss, or go over the edge. Next, the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali. And I would urge particular attention to this verse: ‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;...Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake'.”
----------------------------

I know quite a bit about India in the period in which this is set - but only at a very micro, rural level. This is an urban middle-class story set against the backdrop of the period of war with Pakistan, a world I really only started discovering through Mistry's books. For the colour of life in the city, the stench of it, its cheapness, its noise, its horrifying poverty-strickenness, its cruelty, this book can be thoroughly recommended. To watch the small attempts to rise above these circumstances, to escape to something better is distressing...

rest here:

https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/such-a-long-journey-by-ro... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
DNF
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
A complex, fascinating family story with layered examinations of political corruption, violence, betrayals, scapegoating and more. I particularly enjoyed learning a bit more about life for India's Parsi minority, and thought this novel, written in the early 1990s about the early 1970s, was somewhat prescient in referencing the rise of Hindu nationalism in India. I intend to read all of Mistry's novels. ( )
  nmele | Nov 7, 2015 |
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He assembled the aged priests and put questions to them concerning the kings who had once possessed the world. 'How did they,' he inquired, 'hold the world in the beginning, and why is it that it has been left to us in such a sorry state? And how was it that they were able to live free or care during the days of their heroic labours?"

-Firdausi, Shah-Nama
A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of year
For a journey, and such a long journey...

-T.S. Eliot, 'Journey of the Magi'
And when old words die out on the tongue, new

melodies break forth from the heart; and where the

old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.

-Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali
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The first light of morning barely illuminated the sky as Gustad Noble faced eastward to offer his orisons to Ahura Mazda.
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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and rich in details of character and place, this unforgettable novel charts the journey of a moral heart in a turbulent world of change.

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