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Such a Long Journey [Paperback]

Rohinton Mistry
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 3 1997
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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Such a Long Journey + A Fine Balance + Family Matters
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Product Description

From Amazon

Rohinton Mistry's fame has only increased with each of his novels, but his first remains his best. Such a Long Journey sees India's crisis with Pakistan in 1971 and the corruption of the Gandhi regime through the life of a Bombay bank clerk, with the attention to character and story that have made Mistry as popular a writer as he is admired.

From Publishers Weekly

Mistry, Bombay-born author of Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag , serves up an exotic feast with this novel. The year is 1971, and India is ready to pursue a war against Pakistan over the region that will become Bangladesh. This chaotic period is seen through the eyes of one Gustad Noble, a family man and Parsi bank clerk in Bombay. Gustad's fortunes have begun to change for the worse, with disappointments and bad luck sweeping through his previously secure way of life. When an old friend secretly recruits him to assist in a seemingly heroic mission under the aegis of Indira Gandhi's CIA-like operatives, he becomes enmeshed in a series of dangerous events, with tragic results. Mistry's prose displays the lightest of witty touches, and the narrative is often quite funny, particularly when it invites us inside the minds of the knowable, likable, somehow familiar men and women whose activities propel the plot. A writer of enormous range and shrewdness, Mistry delivers no manifesto, but an intelligent portrait of the corrupt aspects of Indira Gandhi's years in power. Throughout his byzantine scenario, he demonstrates empathy for and deep understanding of his characters. His novel evokes Rushdie in its denser, florid moments, and T. Coraghessan Boyle in its more madcap flights.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Noble Journey Nov. 2 2001
Format:Paperback
Rohinton Mistry's novel, Such a Long Journey, is an engrossing and provocative tale. The main character Gustad Noble is aptly named, for here is a man of true nobility--not by birth, but by his being, his determination, and his goodness. This novel is truly a journey, and Mistry takes us by the hand, guiding us into the unfamiliar cultural landscape of India, taking us along with Gustad and his family as they struggle with all the assaults of being human, as they strive to sustain their way of life on the verge of a changing, evolving society.
Mistry's characters are real; they're developed as individuals and they stand seperatly--from the main character Gustad Noble to his upstairs neighbor who barks, literally, at the moon. When one of many of Mistry's characters dances their way onto this carefully wrought stage, he or she envelopes the reader--we don't wait for this scene to finish in order to get to the meat of the matter--we relax, we sift slowly with the writing as we're there with each of the characters' struggles.
This is a book of enormity. This is a book that when finished, regret sets in. The last few pages dangle themselves out, and when the last word is read and the book closed, the reader has a sense that this one is special, that there aren't many like this one, and that it's too bad, really, that it's over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mistry Creates Realistic, Compelling Characters April 10 2000
By Samira
Format:Paperback
The characters in this novel are so realistic and captivating, you will feel to compelled follow their daily lives in this excellent, heart-warming story. Mistry provides insight into the thoughts and actions of a middle-class,hard-working Indian family man with such depth, and the descriptions of the settings are so accurate and detailed. Every character, minor or major, has a story of their own and we see both sides of each conflict. Truly a must-read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A delight July 31 2001
Format:Paperback
I was told that Mistry's other novel, "A Fine Balance" is a far better book than "Such A Long Journey". If so, I'm looking foward to reading that one, because I thoroughly enjoyed "Such A Long Journey".
I novel centres on the Mumbai Parsi, Gustad Noble. He and his family have seen better days and are now struggling to get by in 1970s Mumbai. Gustad becomes involved with a scheme run by the mysterious Jimmy Bilimoria - what is the meaning of this, and how will it turn out?
Apart from this mystery, the main delight of the novel is how Mistry weaves the central plot into a kaleidoscope of descriptions of life in Mumbai. I have Parsi friends, so I was not completely at sea with the descriptions Mistry uses. Yet, his account of the Parsi funeral ceremony culminating at the Tower of Silence was both moving and intriguing (for those not familiar with Parsi funeral rights, it's scarcely believable, but nonetheless true).
It was Sartre, I think, who said that "hell is other people". Mistry doesn't go as far as that, but he does give the impression of an India teeming with life, full of people invading each others' space. As such, coping with this becomes a daily chore - others are both invasive of privacy and frequently unreliable when you depend on them. And yet, that is only part of being human - for all their faults, most if not all people have redeeming characteristics.
Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A long jouney, but pleasant Oct. 10 2000
Format:Paperback
Rohinton Mistry's first novel provides a door through which to step into the lives of a Parsi community in early 1970's Bombay. The world of Khodadad building turns out to be not so alien to a western reader: the same jealousies, petty grudges and gossip one might expect from one's own neighbors. The religious conflict and overwhelming poverty that always loom large in western media portrayals of India are here relegated to the background, and the success and tribulations of the Noble family come to the fore in what is essentially the story of an ordinary man living in what he perceives to be an ordianry world.
While Gustad Noble's home life seems to be spiralling out of control, one son refusing to attend the right college, his daughter enduring never-ending bouts of sickness, and his wife feverishly invoking traditional treatments on all sides, he becomes anonymously embroiled in a scandal that reaches to the heart of Indira Ghandi's corrupt power structure, claims his best friend, and shakes his faith in his country to its core.
Gustad's efforts to clean up the wall of the Khodadad compound, for years an impromptu lavatory, yield results beyond expectation - transforming a cesspool into a shrine. The problems facing India in the 70's, religious intolerance and the aftereffects of partition, are reflected in miniature as the wall and the Noble's are caught between municipal corruption and the mob.
All in all, very much worth the read. I'm looking forward to tackling "A Fine Balance", Mistry's second (and longer) novel, also shortlisted for the Booker. Cheers
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good debut March 9 2002
Format:Paperback
I read this book after I read "A Fine Balance", and it goes to show (happily) that Mistry's writing style has developed and become much more interesting. Journey is the story of one man, Gustad Noble, facing a set of challenges in Bombay in 1971 (the year of the war with Pakistan.) Mistry also tells several different stories as the characters weave in and out of Gustad's life. Some of it works, some of it doesn't. You can predict some of the fates of the characters right from the beginning. But Mistry has written a solid book, and shows the promise that he fulfilled quite nicely in a Fine Balance.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Long Journey, an Amazon purchase.
The story is fantastic, all Mistry's books are so well written in my opinion. He is a natural story teller but my feeling is this is what India is! Read more
Published on May 3 2012 by Brenmarr
5.0 out of 5 stars Neither Pretentious nor Formulaic
Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey is one of those remarkable confluences of astonishingly beautiful writing, tightly crafted plot, and fully-developed characterization. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2011 by Lorina Stephens
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey short of a Fine Balance
Having read "A Fine Balance" first, which is a masterpiece, I was hoping for an equally enthralling novel. "Journey" is a great read no doubt about it. Read more
Published on May 23 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars Such a Beautiful Read
Mistry is a modern author whose writing compares to author's of "the Great Books". Such a Long Journey gives a stunning idea of life during Indira Gandhi's reign. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2002 by M. Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
This interesting first novel tackles several long journeys -- India's transformation from the raj to a brawling, corrupt, mismanaged, constantly at-war democracy under Indira... Read more
Published on Dec 20 2001 by Robert E. Olsen
2.0 out of 5 stars Such A Long Waste Of My Time...
I found this book to be amazingly boring, not very captivating and hard to follow. The characters are developed too late in the novel and the storyline is blurred between all of... Read more
Published on July 5 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Dissapointing
When I read Mistry's " A Fine Balance" I was totally captivated by his story telling and cast of characters. This book however was very dissapointing. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2000 by Narayan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
A gem of the book about the trials and tribulations of the ordinary folk in India. This is also an intelligent commantary on Indira Gandhi's India
Published on March 16 2000 by Vali Nasr
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