Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

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Rohinton Mistry’s enthralling novel is at once a domestic drama and an intently observed portrait of present-day Bombay in all its vitality and corruption. At the age of seventy-nine, Nariman Vakeel, already suffering from Parkinson’s disease, breaks an ankle and finds himself wholly dependent on his family. His step-children, Coomy and Jal, have a spacious apartment (in the inaptly named Chateau Felicity), but are too squeamish and resentful to tend to his physical needs.

Nariman must now turn to his younger daughter, Roxana, her husband, Yezad, and their two sons, who share a small, crowded home. Their decision will test not only their material resources but, in surprising ways, all their tolerance, compassion, integrity, and faith. Sweeping and intimate, tragic and mirthful, Family Matters is a work of enormous emotional power.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Rohinton Mistry

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Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay and now lives near Toronto. His first novel, Such a Long Journey, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and received, among other awards, the Governor General's Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book of the Year. A Fine Balance is his second novel, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction, the Giller Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize as well as a Booker Prize finalist. Mistry is also the author of Swimming Lessons, a collection of short stories.
Published November 3, 2010 by Vintage. 516 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Kirkus Reviews

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A Dickensian sense of the interconnections of place, character, and fate and a powerful rendering of the experience and consequences of aging and bodily decay—such are the great strengths of this absorbing third novel from the Indian-born Canadian resident (A Fine Balance, 1996, etc.).

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Family Matters

The Guardian

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Family Matters Rohinton Mistry Faber, £10.99, pp487 True to the rather insistent double meaning of its title, Family Matters is a strong, old-fashioned novel about modern Bombay, telling the story of three generations of a Parsi family.

Apr 21 2002 | Read Full Review of Family Matters

Publishers Weekly

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Light moments of domestic interaction, a series of ridiculous comic situations, ironic juxtapositions and tenderly observed human eccentricities provide humorous relief, as the author of A Fine Balance again explores the tightrope act that constitutes life on this planet.

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Star Tribune

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Against this backdrop, Mistry focuses on the plight of a 79-year-old Parsi man named Nariman whose physical decay from Parkinson's disease mirrors the disintegration of his fractured family, who bicker about how to care for him amid financial worries.

Sep 28 2002 | Read Full Review of Family Matters

Entertainment Weekly

Indian emigre Mistry's first novel since his acclaimed 1996 social epic, A Fine Balance, presents a dynamic that will be familiar to that work's readership -- a small-scale, intimate drama about the lives of ordinary people threatened (and sometimes crushed) by the onrush of history.

Sep 13 2002 | Read Full Review of Family Matters


Mistry's knowledge of its customs, locales and languages is encyclopedic, his cast of characters panoramic, and his portrayal of Indian attitudes spot on.

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Deseret News

When Vakeel's 9-year-old grandson, who is a school monitor, accepts bribes from some students so he can bring the money to his poverty-stricken family, we empathize.

Nov 03 2002 | Read Full Review of Family Matters

Nights and Weekends

The most vital character in Family Matters is the 79-year-old Parsi father, Nariman Vakeel, who engages his family with his wry wit.

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London Review of Books

The first nine Booker Prize winners included four novels by Indian novelists, or novels about India, or, failing India, other parts of the old Empire.

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Project MUSE

Mistry's books have won many literary prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book and Los AngelesTimes Book Prize for Fiction.

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India Today

The squalid, godforsaken Bombay in the novel was not the Bombay she saw while teaching at a women's college in the city for four months.

May 06 2002 | Read Full Review of Family Matters

An elderly man becomes disabled and must move

Apr 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Family Matters

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Deepak Rao

Deepak Rao 28 Oct 2015

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