Why A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry is meaningful to Nora Young

"It's deeply, deeply moving. It's tragic, but it's also uplifting," says the host of CBC Radio's Spark.
CBC Radio host Nora Young on A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. (CBC/McClelland & Stewart)

July 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is creating the Great Canadian Reading List — a list of 150 books curated by you. 

Nora Young, host of CBC Radio's Spark, adds A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry to the reading list.

"A Fine Balance springs to mind as a book that I've always carried with me, that I felt changed my life in some way. It's both intimate and really powerful in its scope. It's deeply, deeply moving. It's tragic, but it's also uplifting.

"It's a novel that's set in India in the mid-1970s around the time of the Emergency Crisis. It tells the story of these four characters who lives are intertwined. The title A Fine Balance is very telling because it's about the fine balance of these characters' fates and futures and economic security and well-being, but also about the fine balance and fragility of democracy. A lot of really heart-rending things happen in the book, but somehow, maybe because it's so powerful in its historical reach, it's never depressing. In a way, you just end up feeling uplifted by the sadness and beauty of human life."

Nora Young is the host of CBC Radio's Spark. As a journalist, author and speaker, Nora explores how new technology shapes the way we understand ourselves and the world around us. Her book, The Virtual Self, is published by McClelland and Stewart.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?