peteg's blog - noise - books - 2014 10 11 Mistry SuchALongJourney

Rohinton Mistry: Such a Long Journey

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I heard about this book via Pankaj Mishra a while back. He tends to cite it at every opportunity; I think I got excited by the introduction to a piece of his in the New Yorker. This lead me to think it provided insight into the birth of Bangladesh, but that topic is dispatched in perhaps ten pages spread over 337, and in a way that assumes you know about the Pakistan of the day. Everything telegraphed turns out as you expect, so surprises come suddenly and tend to feel like tangents from the already discursive narrative. For instance, it's a bit tedious when a previously-unshown Parsi's "domestic vulture" wife turns out to be shrewish at his funeral. In some ways this is something on the topic of Salman Rushdie's Shame but an (1991) imitation of his Midnight's Children, or looking at it another way, a clunky Ishiguro. There are some funny bits, but nothing laugh-out-loud. The focus is on the Parsis in Bombay.