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Favorite Books #4

A friend of mine, on a celebratory election call yesterday, said, when introducing a poet, "The beauty of language is that when words fail us, somebody, somewhere, knows exactly what to say to express those feelings." Amen. This is why I love books and poetry.

Though I should probably be writing on this post-election day about a female author, I'll make a slight nod to Kamala by writing about an author with Indian roots, Rohinton Mistry.

I've read A Fine Balance a few times since its release in 1995, and each time it leaves me with a deeper understanding of humanity. It's not a feel-good book. It's not even a feel-okay-about-things book. But it is so beautiful. The prose leaves the reader with a visceral sense of what life in an Indian inner-city is like, the crowds, the destitution, food odors, sweat, superstitions. Mistry deftly weaves the lives of his protagonists: a low-caste tailor and his nephew, an ailing widow and a respectable student, together. The quadriplegic beggar whom they befriend will bring tears. You might have to put the book down for a minute. But then you'll pick it back up every time.

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