"In the end, it's all a question of balance."
Magnificent, sweeping novel set in tumultuous 1970s India. At 600 pages, it's both panoramic and intimate. While the background is political and social unrest (corruption, police raids, religious strife, clearing slums, forced labor), the story focuses on four character: a proud widow who runs a sewing shop, the two tailors who work for her and strive for a better life, and her young college student relative. There is a lot of pain and a lot of suffering in this novel, but it doesn't grow bleak or oppressive. Mistry, who also wrote "Such a Long Journey," has an enormous compassion and empathy for his characters, which is what great literature does. One of the great novels of the past few decades.
"After all, our lives are but a sequence of accidents-a clanking chain of chance events. A string of choices, casual or deliberate, which add up that one big calamity we call life."