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. The focus this time: a Bombay clan whose aged patriarch moves in with his daughter’s family. Mistry brings the same unfailing scrutiny to the everyday details of their lives as he does to the shifting political currents in the city they inhabit, so that by the end, you’re not sure which story is, in any sense, larger. Marred only by an ongoing taste for catastrophe so arbitrary as to be melodramatic, this is nonetheless a fine work by an important writer.

Family Matters
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