Time to start fresh for 2012. This year I’m only going to aim for 40 books as I want to do more creative things in my bits of time between, I hope, gazing at a living, breathing baby.
A Fine Balance is the story of four people living in India at the time of Indira Gandi’s ’emergency’. It is a part of history I know nothing about, to my shame really, and initially I found the book a little hard to get into, even though the style is gorgeous and it is easy to read. But the pace of the book is part of its beauty and gradually I was sucked in. The description of the caste system, the horror of life in the lower castes, the tiresome difficulties facing women who wanted to be strong and independent and the sheer grim reality of life there were fascinating.
I’ve read reviews that this is one of the most depressing books ever written. It certainly isn’t a laugh a minute, given the subject matter it could hardly be so, but it is incredibly uplifting. It is a tale of people who change, of friendship and family and the overcoming of barriers, whether mental, moral, physical or political. As such it is an epic and an enormous achievement and probably a book every person should read.
Thanks to Love-a-Book for the recommendation.