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Rohinton Mistry on A Fine Balance

"The worst part of great poverty," says author Rohinton Mistry, "is that you become blind to it." That blindness is something the Indian-born Canadian author thought he left behind in India, but now, he fears, he's seeing it in the government of Ontario Premier Mike Harris. On CBC radio's The Arts Tonight, Mistry talks about the poverty and political unrest depicted in his most recent novel, A Fine Balance.
• Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay in 1952 and immigrated to Canada in 1975. His first novel, Such a Long Journey, was published in 1991 and earned him much acclaim, including the Governor General's Award for fiction. A Fine Balance, published in 1995, won the Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Booker Award.

A Fine Balance is a fictional tale set against a background of real-life events in 1970s India. After President Indira Gandhi proclaims a state of emergency, four people thrown together by chance - a widow, two low-caste tailors and a student - help each other to survive poverty, prejudice and corruption.

The Arts Tonight changed its name and its host in late 1996. It became The Arts Today with host Eleanor Wachtel, who also hosts CBC's Writers and Company.
• The mandate of show was to cover the arts, both Canadian and international. The show consists mainly of interviews with the creators of literature, film, theatre, visual art, dance and music.

• After leaving The Arts Tonight, Erika Ritter moved to Ontario Morning, the early-morning regional program heard in much of Ontario (except Toronto, Ottawa and northwestern Ontario).


Medium: Radio
Program: The Arts Tonight
Broadcast Date: Oct. 25, 1996
Guest(s): Rohinton Mistry
Host: Erika Ritter
Duration: 4:53
Photo: Alastair Grant/Canadian Press

Last updated: March 20, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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