Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review : Family Matters

Image source : Amazon
Author : Rohinton Mistry

A story about a Parsi family living in Bombay. As the author puts it, the most accepting and giving city of the world as it keeps welcoming people and embrace them in its arms. In return, the city endures for the ones coming into its folds everyday. There is a brief mention of the Shiv Sena people who are trying to control the natural flow of the city by putting their claims on its fabric whether it is in the form of changing the name to Mumbai or not allowing people to celebrate festivals that do not go well with them. The nostaliga that Mr. Kapur feels for his initial period in the city tells us how the author loved the older version of Mumbai.

The story revolves around the head of the family - Nariman Vakeel, family of his married daughter Roxanne and Nariman's two step-children - Coomy and Jal. When the story begins Nariman is living with Coomy and Jal in a 7-rooms flat but Coomy has not fogiven him and she has her heart full of anger for her step-father. Nariman is struggling with Parkinsons and osteoporosis. But the complicated situation arises when Nariman gets a fractured ankle and Coomy and Jal find it too hard to take care of him and dump him at their step-sister's small two-bedroom flat without prior notice. Because of this sudden happening of events Roxanne has to face some problems and unpleasantness with her husband Yezad. But she looks after her father, taking care of his personal needs also, very dearly. Yezad on his end is struggling with the fact that he is not able to provide enough for his family and there is always the financial crunch even more now when there is an addition to the family.

In an attempt to keep her step-father out of that house forever Coomy thinks of an evil plan and gets trapped in it herself.

As far as the writing style of the author is concerned, I think he seriously should edit the story to remove the unimportant parts from the narration. Totally unnecessary details make it a little too long and a drag somtimes. He is successful in making readers see the perils of old age and how with this phase of life comes the feeling of being unwanted for even the dear ones. An average story but should have been a little more crisp.


  1. Hi Vibha,

    I would not call it a masterpiece, but it is an interesting take on a masterpiece. It takes both the historical and the contemporary relevance of Mahabharata in account and that is what makes it an interesting reading.

    I loved the reading list at the end of the book and now there are so many books that I need to read before I die...


  2. Sorry - that was meant for Gurcharan Das's book...got posted at the wrong post.


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