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Feb 14, 2012

Rohinton Mistry

Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India in 1952. He graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Bombay in 1974 and immigrated to Canada with his wife, the following year, settling in Toronto, where he worked as a bank clerk, studying English and Philosophy part-time at the University of Toronto and completing his second degree in 1982. Mistry wrote his first short story, `One Sunday`, in 1983, winning First Prize in the Canadian Hart House Literary Contest (an award he also won the following year for his short story `Auspicious Occasion`). It was followed in 1985 by the Annual Contributors` Award from the Canadian Fiction Magazine, and afterwards, with the aid of a Canada Council grant, he left his job to become a full-time writer.

His early stories were published in a number of Canadian magazines and his short-story collection, Tales from Firozsha Baag, was first published in Canada in 1987 (later published in the UK in 1992). He is the author of three novels: Such a Long Journey (1991), the story of a Bombay bank clerk who unwittingly becomes involved in a fraud committed by the government, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book), A Fine Balance (1996), set during the State of Emergency in India in the 1970s, and Family Matters (2002), which tells the story of an elderly Parsi widower living in Bombay with his step-children. Such a Long Journey and A Fine Balance were both short-listed in previous years for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and Family Matters was short listed for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Mistry`s fiction is rooted in the streets of Bombay, the city he left behind for Canada at the age of twenty-three. Tales from Firozsha Baag (1992), Mistry`s first collection of stories, marked the arrival of a prodigious talent. Also available (in a slightly different form) as Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag, the collection contains eleven interrelated short stories that brings together some of Mistry`s earliest and finest writing. The tales detail the day-to-day lives of the residents of a decrepit apartment block in Bombay: Firozsha Baag. Mistry`s affectionate, thumb nail sketches bring together the lives of miserly Rustomji, the deranged Jaakaylee and Pesi, who is able to look up girls` skirts with the aid of his torch.

Such a Long Journey (1991), Mistry`s first novel, won numerous literary awards when it was first published and has since been adapted for film. The novel is set in 1971 during the time of the Indian Pakistan war. Its protagonist is no conventional hero, however: Gustad Noble is a bank clerk and a family man, a vulnerable figure whose world is still haunted by the war with China in 1962. The fate of Gustad`s family is closely bound up with that of the subcontinent during a time of crisis and turmoil. The clerk`s daughter`s illness and his son`s refusal to go to college, are events that we are encouraged to read symptomatically in Such a Long Journey. When Gustad receives a parcel and a request to launder money for an old friend, the event`s ramifications are at once personal and political.

"A Fine Balance", critically Mistry`s most successful work to date, tells the story of four characters (Maneck, Dina, Ishvar and Omprakash) and the impact of Indira Gandhi`s state of emergency on them. One of the most successful aspects of this book is its carefully crafted prose. The morning express bloated with passengers slowed to a crawl, then lurched forward suddenly, as though to resume full speed. The train`s brief deception jolted its riders. The bulge of humans hanging out of the doorway distended perilously, like a soap bubble at its limit. This intricate opening paragraph, which is typical of the precise prose of "A Fine Balance" throughout, helps propel the novel forward through what is one of the most memorable portraits of post-Independence India ever written.

Family MattersMistry`s latest novel, "Family Matters" (2002), is based in Bombay once more. Where his first two novels were set in the 1970s and were essentially `historical` fictions however, Family Matters depicts contemporary Bombay and is set in the 1990s. At the centre of the book is an old man, a Parsi with Parkinson`s Disease. Nariman Vakeel is a retired academic whose illness places renewed strains on family relations (Nariman, an English professor, compares himself to King Lear at one point).

A widower with skeletons in his closet, Nariman`s memories of the past expose the reader to earlier moments in the city`s, and the nation`s history in a novel that moves across three generations of the same family. In Family Matters we have the familiar slippage between public and private worlds. Similarly the lives of the residents of `Chateau Felicity` (Nariman`s former residence) and `Pleasant villa` (where he is forced to move by his scheming step daughter) recall the world of Firozsha Baag. Where the earlier novels tended towards a decisive closure however, the epilogue of this novel seems much less ready to console.

Prizes and Awards
1983 Hart House Literary Contest (first prize) `One Sunday` (short story).
1984 Hart House Literary Contest (first prize) `Auspicious Occasion` (short story).
1985 Annual Contributors` Prize, Canadian Fiction Magazine.
1991 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Such a Long Journey.
1991 Governor General`s Literary Award for Fiction (Canada) Such a Long Journey.
1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book) Such a Long Journey.
1992 Smith Books/Books in Canada First Novel Award Such a Long Journey.
1995 Giller Prize (Canada) A Fine Balance.
1996 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) A Fine Balance.
1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book) A Fine Balance.
1997 Irish Times International Fiction Prize (shortlist) A Fine Balance.
2002 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (shortlist) Family Matters.
2002 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize (joint winner with Pascal Khoo Thwe) Family.
Matters 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Family Matters.
2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (shortlist) Family Matters.

As Rushdie puts in, Rohinton Mistry is a "writer from elsewhere". Very much of Indian origin, Rohinton Mistry in his novels, is always enthused with the infinitesimal particulars of his native city Bombay. However being a Parsi origin, Rohinton Mistry is more concerned with the tribulations and the idiosyncrasies of Bombay Parsis. Mistry in his novels explores the relationships at the heart of this community, their cultural identity and the uniqueness of their community living.

Tales From Ferozsha Baag, Rohinton MistryMistry, being himself, belonging to the Parsi community, experiences the diasporic issues and as a writer he shed light over these issue. Rohinton Mistry is a writer who makes up a part of the Indian Diaspora. His short stories as well as in his novel, Mistry underscores both the heterogeneous nature of one community`s identity and its dynamism. Traumatism in its inevitability brings change to the characters` lives, which Mistry focuses in his fictions. What he affirms is the power and pliability of the individual and that of the community in a world without a shred of pity.

Sympathetic to the women, he always advocates for the independence of the women and in his novels are always noted a protest of the women against the conventional arranged marriage. The novels bare often marked with a color of feminism. His females are fortuitous and choose their own male counterpart. The books of Rohinton Mistry are highly acclaimed and are considered as the masterpiece of the postcolonial literature.

Tales from Ferozshah Baag: - The Tales from Faerozshah Baag is the story of the lifestyles of the inhabitants living in the apartment named Ferozshah Baag. Such A Long Journey: -Inviolable background of the Indo Pak War, forms the background of Such A Long Journey, in which Mistry has etched out the tales of common Bombayites.

A Fine Balance: - The uncertain future of the young individuals in the precarious circumstances of 1975, when the Government has declared the State of Emergency is ideally portrayed in "A Fine balance".

The story of `A Fine Balance` is set at the backdrop at the time of 1975 in India, in an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, and the country is on the edge of chaos. In these precarious circumstances, four strangers are forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future. Their background is different and so do their habit. But ultimately they become dependant on each other and thus story proceeds.

Born in Bombay in the year of 1952 Rohinton Mistry graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Bombay in 1974. He migrated to Canada with his wife the following year, settling in Toronto, where he worked as a bank clerk, studying English and Philosophy part-time at the University of Toronto and completing his second degree in 1982. Mistry wrote his first short story, `One Sunday`, in 1983. Because of which he won the First Prize in the Canadian Hart House Literary Contest. It was followed in 1985 by the Annual Contributors` Award from the Canadian Fiction Magazine, and afterwards, with the aid of a Canada Council grant, he left his job to become a full-time writer. His early stories were published in a number of Canadian magazines, and his short-story collection was first published in Canada in 1987. In one of his semi autobiographical novel he depicted the story of a Bombay bank clerk who unwittingly becomes involved in a fraud committed by the government, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Another novel set during the State of Emergency in India in the 1970s. He always takes contemporary topics as his subject matter as for example in one of his stories he tells the story of an elderly Parsi widower living in Bombay with his step-children which was short listed for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Synopsis:
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry This book of Rohinton Mistry is a masterpiece. Enlaced with beautiful writing the book brings new understanding about India`s struggles with poverty and caste systems. The cultures and traditions are displayed through this story using four main characters and involving many background characters to make this book so realistic. Rohinton Mistry meshes the lives of four people of diverse backgrounds into a bond that lasts a lifetime. Dina Dalal, widowed and determined to make it as an independent woman in a world where women have little value, becomes the unwilling glue that supports 3 other lives. Maneck Kohlah is a student, sent by his parents from his mountain village to attend school in the city. Ishvar Darji and his nephew Omprakash are tailors escaping the terror in their village by moving to the city to look for work. This unlikely group of people becomes dependent on each other out of necessity, their lives entangling to create the basis of the story as well. This book is sometimes crude while sometimes cruel. The story mainly deals with the story of India during the 70s and the changes it was going through as well as the corrupt government. Here`s a book to make an American feel the privileges our country gives us, or any truly free country.

Being published by the Vintage publishing house A Fine Balance is written by Rohinton Mistry, which is a tale of four persons from different background living in a same place.

The collection of short story `Tales From Ferozsha Baag` by Rohinton Mistry aptly satisfies the title as this contained the stories of the lifestyle of the residents living in the apartment named Ferozsha Baag.

Born in Mumbai in 1952, Rohinton Mistry graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Bombay in 1974. But next year he emigrated to Canada with his wife and settled in Toronto, where he worked as a bank clerk, studying English and Philosophy part-time at the University of Toronto and completing his second degree in 1982. He was very serious in his studies and also worked very to achieve his goal in life. Mistry started his writing career with a short story, `One Sunday`, in 1983. In 1986 he left his job and contributed all his time to flourish his career in writing. He won many awards as well as many writing contests. Rohinton Mistry His early stories were published in a number of Canadian magazines, and his short-story collection, Tales from Firozsha Baag, was first published in Canada in 1987.

His novels brought him national and international recognition. Mistry`s fiction spreads a precise writing style and a sensitivity to the humour and horror of life to communicate deep compassion for human beings. His writing concerns people who try to find own self while dealing with painful family dynamics and difficult social and political constraints. His work also addresses immigration, especially immigration to Canada, and the difficulty immigrants face in a society that recognizes their cultural differences and yet cannot embrace those differences as being part of itself. He is an excellent writer with unique writing style.

Synopsis:
`Tales From Firozsha Baag` is a collection of 11 short stories about the residents of Firozsha Baag. This is a creation of india born canadian writer Rohinton Mistry. Firozsha Baag is a Parsi-dominated apartment complex in Mumbai. All the stories deal with the same location, and thus the title of the story truly signifies it. Tales from Firozsha Baag, though a lesser-known work by Rohinton Mistry, still captures with vivacity, the rich and complex patterns of life of lower middle class families inhabiting an apartment in Bombay. Mistry`s Characterisation in this story is fabulous as he sketches Jaakaylee, an ayah and the Baag`s ghost seer.

The simplicity of her feelings is brought out through a compelling illustration of her day to day activities. The way she gets teased by kids of the baag for seeing a bhoot. The way her confession stops her periodic troubles with the bhoot. The novel portrays the feelings of an adolescent who gets addicted to stamp collection and gets carried away. It also portrays how events hurt in many ways. At the end when Jahangir left the boxful of precious stamps, which he gets from Dr. Mody, touch the reader`s heart.

Rohinton Mistry `Tales From Firozsha Baag` was Rohinton Mistry`s first book, it was published by McClelland and Stewart in 1987.

All the stories in the novel `Tales From Firozsha Baag` is written in a excellent manner. It`s different stories shows the language of love from different angle. E.g. father-son, lover-lovee, and other emotional tales of human life. This has a light subject matter which tries to give a little amount of piece to the reader`s mind in these of work pressure and tension.

Such a Long Journey unfolds the tale of the common Bombayites. Gustad , his life, his daily hard work and indeed the inviolable background of the Indo Pak war forms the base of the story.

Rohinton Mistery was born on 3rd July 1952. He is considered to be one of the famous authors who have gone out of India and writing in English. Rohinton Mistry is of Indian origin, he belongs to the Parsi Zoroastrian religious minority. The Parsis are small, yet united, religious community in India, devoted to Zoroastrianism, whose ancestors fled Islamic persecution in Iran during the eighth century. At his young age he worked in a bank for some days. After completing his degree in English and philosophy he attended University of Toronto where he won two Hart House literary prizes and Canadian Fiction magazine`s annual contributor`s prize for 1985. His first novel `Such a long journey` was published in 1991. This creation of Mistry won many awards e.g. Governor general`s award, commonwealth writer`s prize for best book, W. H. Smith books in Canada first novel award. The novel has also been translated in German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Japanese. This story of the author has also made into a film sharing the same name as the novel `Such a long Journey`.

Synopsis:
Rohinton Mistry uses `ordinary` men and women as his protagonists and fills his novels with the sights, sounds, smells, and color of India. Depicting his characters as neither saints nor sinners, he involves the reader in their lives as they try to survive the complexities of their culture. The backdrop of `Such a Long Journey` is set in Bombay and the time is 1971. The central character of the novel is very hard-working bank clerk named Gustad Noble. He is a devoted family man. He works hard to maintain his family properly. She has Dilnavaz, his wife and three children in his family. But there comes some problems in his life when his eldest son Sohrab refuses to attend the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology to which he has gained admittance. His youngest daughter Roshan falls ill. Other conflicts within the novel involve Gustad`s ongoing interactions with his eccentric neighbours and his relationship with his close friend and co-worker, Dinshawji. A letter that Gustad receives one day from an old friend, Major Bilmoria, slowly draws him into a government deception involving threats, secrecy and large amounts of money. Throughout the novel, the wall outside Gustad`s apartment building symbolizes the larger world of Bombay and parallels some aspects of Gustad`s own life. At the outset, it is used as a latrine, breeding illness in the neighborhood. Gustad tries something to come out of this problem. He persuades a sidewalk artist to paint it, and consequently he depicts scenes from all the religions of India. In this way the wall becomes a holy place. Eventually the government decides to widen the road and tear it down.

Being published by Mc clelland and stewart, Random house Inc., Alfred a Knopf, Faber and Faber, `Such A Long Journey` has been made into a movie named Such a long journey which was released in the year of 1998.

`Such A Long Journey` by Rohinton Mistery is a marvelous collection illustrating day to day life in a unique way. It is a beautifully constructed and emotionally involving story of a small family trying to live meaningful lives against almost overwhelming odds. The characters are finely drawn, and the plot reflects the traumas of an ordinary man and his wife caught up in events and crises not of their own making. This novel unable the author to take the experience of writing and become well versed in career.


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