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Reading Notes: Tears

If you haven’t voted, please visit my poll.

When was the last time you cried over a book? The blurb of A Fine Balance says the novel “captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India” with a realism that recalls the work of Charles Dickens. That I have just finished a Dickens novel is a sheer coincidence. But Dickens’s realism of the French Revolution doesn’t prepare me emotion-wise for this book, which is set the 1970s India, when the struggle to dehumanize those of the lowest caste was still rife. Men, women, and children—locked up in the house, bound flesh licked by flames. The reason for this agonized punishment: breaching the timeless caste system. Before I knew, tears trickled down my face and frolicked with the ink of my pen in swirls on my journal. Read this book.

28 Responses

  1. I really enjoy your blog and reviews. Thank you!

  2. I read this book quite some time ago and it still resonates with me today. One of my ultimate favorite book ever.

  3. I can’t wait for your review.

  4. This is another of my all-time favorites. I remember reading it on a beach in Florida and, as you now know, this is anything but a beach read!

  5. I loved this novel – one of my all time favourites.

  6. Like several others, this is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s been years since I read it, but it stays with me – how often does that happen?

  7. I haven’t yet read this book but it’s going on my wish list.

    The last book that caused my tears to burst their dams was A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer. I’m still haunted by it even though I read it a few years ago.

  8. The last book that made me burst out in tears was Cutting for Stone.

    I’m looking forward to your review of this book. It sounds like a good read. I love how so many commented that this is a favourite of them, it makes me want to read it even more.

  9. Hello, Matt. A Fine Balance is one of my favorite books. Despite its doorstop proportions, I couldn’t put it down and so I ended up reading it for 2 straight days.

    Mistry’s depiction of modern-day India is so heartbreaking. I ultimately felt compassion for his characters, just for surviving despite overwhelming adversity.

    Mistry’s other novel, A Family Life, also doesn’t disappoint.

  10. Quite a few books make me rather emotional but its rare I am moved to tears. I think the last book that did that to me was ‘Flowers for Algernon’ whcih reduced me to a bit of a wreck!!!

  11. I’m not sure it’s the most recent time, but what comes to mind immediately is Alissa York‘s novel Effigy. It is beautifully crafted, so I hope my saying this doesn’t put anyone off reading it. Her first novel, Mercy was also outstanding, also emotionally affecting in a remarkably visceral way.

  12. I will get wet eyes now and again, but rarely participate in an ugly cry (and it is usually associated with the death of an animal). The last one was The Art of Racing in the Rain.

  13. This sits in my top ten of books of my favorite books. I loved the book and the story even though it brought me to my knees emotionally. I have Family Matters by Mistry now but not sure if I will have time to read it before I have to return it to the library. And I have A Fine Balance on my list to reread.

    • You were the one who first recommended A Fine Balance to me and I have kept it in my mind. I’m glad I’ve got to read it although it’s not an easy experience, emotion-wise.

  14. This was such an emotional read for me too. I had the hardest time picking up a new book after I finished reading this one.

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