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Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry

Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry

Rohinton Mistry easily ranks as one of my favourite modern authors, every single one of his novels I have enjoyed immensely (not to mention his excellent collection of short stories – Tales from Firozsha Baag). Such a Long Journey is clear evidence that Mistry’s skill in crafting engaging and likeable characters was present even in the early stages of his writing career. Even his bad characters always seem to have some redeeming features and traits. Interwoven with a colourful (and often pungent!) Bombay backdrop his novels always seem to display a pleasing mixture of the day to day and the exotic.

Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay but has lived in Canada since 1975. Such a Long Journey was published in 1991 and is his first novel.

Read on for a full review….

-- Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry a Review by Des Greene --
Such a Long Journey tells the story of Gustad Noble, a normal family man struggling to make ends meet whilst working as a bank clerk in Bombay. His life is thrown into turmoil when his young daughter’s health starts to fail and his eldest son refuses to follow the academic path his father has struggled to set him out on. Further complications arrive in the form of a mysterious and dangerous favour asked of him by a family friend whom he has not seen for several years.

This backdrop provides Rohinton Mistry with a canvas to explore not only family conflicts, but also the wider bonds of friendship and loyalty. Gustad is tested to his limits, and his long journey is both literal and figurative. His final destination being a true awareness of the things that are really important in life.

As with all of Mistry’s novels, both his main and supporting characters are beautifully real and involving. It is hard not to find something likeable even in the book’s worst inhabitants. This is a amply illustrated by a long lost friend who arrives as a government official to demolish the boundary wall to Gustad’s accommodation block which has recently been transformed into a religious shrine by a pavement artist. This friend, Malcolm, a talented musician has been forced into this job as he can no longer find enough students to make ends meet as a music teacher. He doesn’t want to do the bad deed, but circumstances have forced it on him. This is a recurring element with Mistry’s characters, and even quite unpleasant and evil ones are often provided with an underlying reason or necessity for their wrongdoings.

I would highly recommend Such a Long Journey to anyone who enjoys novels with rich characterisation and who values the way in which those characters interact, above and beyond out and out action in the plot.

Already read Such a Long Journey? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

Novel Suggestions only provides fiction book reviews of books that we personally recommend. We don’t spend our valuable time writing reviews of books which we feel would be a waste of your valuable time!

2 Comments

  1. aakanksha says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the novel! It was a remarkable, vivid description of such a motley of characters! The book was a real treat! Nice review too!

    1. Des says:

      Hi Aakanksha, I love every single one of Mistry’s books, the characters are so alive. So glad that you enjoyed the review.

      All the best,
      Des.

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