A Fine Balance Book Summary - A Fine Balance Book explained in key points

A Fine Balance summary

Sudha Bhuchar, Rohinton Mistry

Brief summary

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry is a poignant novel set in 1970s India, following the lives of four characters from different backgrounds as they navigate the challenges of caste discrimination, political unrest, and economic hardship.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    A Fine Balance
    Summary of key ideas

    Surviving the Unsurvivable

    In A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, we are transported to 1975 India, a time of political turmoil and social unrest. The story revolves around four characters from different walks of life, who are brought together by fate and forced to live under one roof. Ishvar and Omprakash, two tailors from a small village, flee to the city to escape the caste violence. They are joined by Dina, a strong-willed widow, and Maneck, a college student from a remote hill station.

    As the characters' lives intertwine, they form a makeshift family, each providing support and solace to the others. Dina, who initially hires the tailors as her employees, gradually develops a deep bond with them. Maneck, who rents a room in Dina's house, becomes an integral part of their lives. Despite their different backgrounds, they find comfort in each other's company, forming a fragile yet beautiful balance.

    Struggles and Hardships

    However, their lives are far from easy. The political climate of the time casts a dark shadow over their existence. The government's declaration of a state of emergency leads to widespread corruption, forced sterilizations, and the suspension of civil liberties. The characters are not immune to these atrocities. Ishvar and Omprakash, being from the lower caste, are subjected to brutal treatment and exploitation. Maneck, who comes from a privileged background, is forced to confront the harsh realities of the world outside his sheltered life.

    Despite their best efforts, the characters are unable to escape the harsh realities of their circumstances. Dina's tailoring business faces constant threats, Ishvar and Omprakash are trapped in a cycle of poverty and abuse, and Maneck struggles to find his place in a world that seems to be falling apart. Their lives are a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, as they continue to fight against all odds.

    Loss and Despair

    As the story progresses, the characters' lives take a turn for the worse. A tragic event shatters their fragile equilibrium, leaving them grappling with grief and despair. The once hopeful and optimistic Maneck is unable to cope with the harsh realities of the world and decides to leave. Dina, who had found solace in her makeshift family, is left alone to face her struggles. Ishvar and Omprakash, who had hoped for a better life in the city, find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty and suffering.

    The characters' individual stories are marked by loss, betrayal, and unfulfilled dreams. Yet, amidst all the despair, they continue to find moments of joy and connection. Their resilience in the face of adversity is a testament to the human spirit's ability to endure even the harshest of circumstances.

    A Fine Balance

    In the end, A Fine Balance is a poignant exploration of the human condition. It portrays the harsh realities of life in 1975 India, while also celebrating the resilience and strength of its characters. Despite the overwhelming challenges they face, Dina, Ishvar, Omprakash, and Maneck continue to strive for a better future, refusing to be defeated by their circumstances.

    The title, A Fine Balance, encapsulates the delicate equilibrium the characters manage to maintain amidst the chaos and despair. It is a balance between hope and despair, survival and defeat, love and loss. Their stories, though heartbreaking, are a testament to the enduring human spirit and the ability to find beauty and meaning in the most unlikely of places.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is A Fine Balance about?

    A Fine Balance is a novel by Rohinton Mistry that delves into the lives of four diverse characters in 1970s India. It weaves a poignant tale of resilience, friendship, and the pursuit of a better life amidst the backdrop of political turmoil and societal injustices. Through rich storytelling, Mistry offers a profound exploration of human relationships and the enduring human spirit.

    A Fine Balance Review

    A Fine Balance (1995) is a poignant novel that takes readers on a journey through the lives of four individuals in 1970s India. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its richly developed characters and intricate plot, the story delves into themes of friendship, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit.
    • The book offers a gripping portrayal of the socio-political climate in India during that time, giving readers a deeper understanding of the country's history.
    • Through its raw and evocative storytelling, the book explores the complexities of class, caste, and gender, shedding light on the struggles and triumphs of ordinary people.

    Who should read A Fine Balance?

    • Readers who enjoy deep and intricate character studies
    • People interested in exploring the social and political landscape of India
    • Those who appreciate vivid and immersive storytelling

    About the Author

    Sudha Bhuchar and Rohinton Mistry are both accomplished authors who have made significant contributions to the literary world. Sudha Bhuchar is a British-Indian playwright and actress, known for her powerful storytelling and exploration of cultural identity. Rohinton Mistry, on the other hand, is an acclaimed Indian-Canadian author whose works often depict the struggles and resilience of ordinary people in India. Both authors have received critical acclaim for their writing, with Mistry's novel A Fine Balance being a standout work that has garnered international recognition.

    Categories with A Fine Balance

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    A Fine Balance FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Fine Balance?

    The main message of A Fine Balance is the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

    How long does it take to read A Fine Balance?

    The reading time for A Fine Balance varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Fine Balance a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Fine Balance is worth reading for its vivid characters and compelling storyline that explores the complexities of life in India.

    Who is the author of A Fine Balance?

    Sudha Bhuchar and Rohinton Mistry are the authors of A Fine Balance.

    What to read after A Fine Balance?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A Fine Balance, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson
    • Rogue States by Noam Chomsky
    • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
    • The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich August von Hayek
    • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    • Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
    • No Logo by Naomi Klein
    • The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson
    • The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier
    • The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein