Set in Bombay in the mid-1990s, Family Matters tells a story of familial love and obligation, of personal and political corruption, of the demands of tradition and the possibilities for compassion. Nariman Vakeel, the patriarch of a small discordant family, is beset by Parkinson’s and haunted by memories of his past. He lives with his two middle-aged stepchildren, Coomy, bitter and domineering, and her brother, Jal, mild-mannered and acquiescent. But the burden of the illness worsens the already strained family relationships. Soon, their sweet-tempered half-sister, Roxana, is forced to assume sole responsibility for her bedridden father. And Roxana’s husband, besieged by financial worries, devises a scheme of deception involving his eccentric employer at a sporting goods store, setting in motion a series of events that leads to the narrative’s moving outcome. Family Matters has all the richness, the gentle humour, and the narrative sweep that have earned Mistry the highest of accolades around the world.
About the Author
Rohinton Mistry is the author of three novels, all of which have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and a collection of short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag.
His first novel, Such a Long Journey, won the Governor General's Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, and the SmithBooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award. It was made into an acclaimed feature film in 1998.
A Fine Balance was winner of the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, the Royal Society of Literature's Winifred Holtby Award, and Denmark's ALOA Prize. It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and the Prix Femina. In 2002, A Fine Balance was selected for Oprah’s Book Club.
Family Matters won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for Fiction and the Canadian Authors Association Fiction Award. It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Born in Bombay, Rohinton Mistry has lived in Canada since 1975. He was awarded the Trudeau Fellows Prize in 2004, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2009, he was a finalist for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize, and winner of the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In translation, his work has been published in more than thirty languages.
Praise for Family Matters…
“Once again, Rohinton Mistry has written an absolutely fabulous novel.”
–Noah Richler, National Post
“He ought to be considered simply one of the best writers, Indian or otherwise, now alive.”
“The reader is moved, even to tears, by these rites of passage among characters we have lived with long enough to feel as family. . . . The exercise of compassion, by the writer and then by the reader, remains one of the novel’s chief duties and complex pleasures.”
–John Updike, The New Yorker
“A magnetic tale that comes as close to perfect as a novel can get.”
“Magnificent.…Family Matters could well be one of the finest novels most of us will ever read. It is certainly a masterpiece.”
“Warm, humane, tender and bittersweet.…The author of A Fine Balance again explores the tightrope act that constitutes life on this planet.…This beautifully paced, elegantly expressed novel is notable for the breadth of its vision as well as its immensely appealing characters and enticing plot.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“For the purposefulness and clarity of his moral vision, there is no better writer living in Canada today.…Mistry weaves a marvelous tapestry.…”
“Family Matters moves and engages at every moment.…Mistry is among the most distinguished of the Indian writers currently visible, partly because he does not try to make India itself his main subject.…His real territory if the divided heart.”
–Pico Iyer, The New York Review of Books
“Heart-breaking and utterly beguiling.…”
–The Herald (U.K.)
“Compassionately attentive to the blend of tragedy and comedy and strikes the notes of each with grace, precision and tenderness.…”
“Impressive. . . . Wry and richly perceptive.…”
–Times Literary Supplement
“A giant among writers.…A vibrant and full-bodied novel.”
“Compelling and rich.…”
–Globe and Mail
“With deceptive simplicity, Mistry draws his fine balance between scepticism and affirmation, faith and bigotry, family nurture and control.”
–The Guardian (U.K.)
[He is] blessed by talent as natural as breathing.…”
“His prose style is as clear as a pane of newly polished glass.”
“Mistry remains one of our most important writers –one of our most important moral voices.…”
–Quill & Quire