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Free books Family Matters By Rohinton Mistry –

Rohinton Mistry S Enthralling Novel Is At Once A Domestic Drama And An Intently Observed Portrait Of Present Day Bombay In All Its Vitality And Corruption At The Age Of Seventy Nine, Nariman Vakeel, Already Suffering From Parkinson S Disease, Breaks An Ankle And Finds Himself Wholly Dependent On His Family His Step Children, Coomy And Jal, Have A Spacious Apartment In The Inaptly Named Chateau Felicity , But Are Too Squeamish And Resentful To Tend To His Physical NeedsNariman Must Now Turn To His Younger Daughter, Roxana, Her Husband, Yezad, And Their Two Sons, Who Share A Small, Crowded Home Their Decision Will Test Not Only Their Material Resources But, In Surprising Ways, All Their Tolerance, Compassion, Integrity, And Faith Sweeping And Intimate, Tragic And Mirthful, Family Matters Is A Work Of Enormous Emotional Power

10 thoughts on “Family Matters

  1. says:

    The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of Flipping through the pages, my heart leapt many times those waves bearing the ring of countenance were from still stream but the ones with ripples of accusation roared thunder Accusation Accusation hurled towards whom The fictional characters delicately brought to life by the stinging brush of the author or the guilty, manipulative, egocentric, conceited character of mine Did my fingers pause typing these words defining myself They did And it also confirmed my worst fears I am no angel and the pristine white enveloping me is a well fabricated dwelling that I carry with temporary aplomb, aware somewhere deep inside that some of its bricks are turning cancerous by my vices.Why, else, should I feel tormented at the sight of a 78 year old, Parkinson s afflicted Nariman Vakeel, whose profound literary mind is reduced to a negligible fraction, not by the disease and a broken leg but by the invalidating abandonment of Coomy and Jal, his step children Why, else, should I feel torn by the disintegrating domestic fabric of his other daughter, Roxana whose tireless strides of nursing her fragile father come at the cost of her husband, Yezad s never seen before condescension Why, else, should I feel numbed at the virtues of a nine year old Jehangir who knows to read the silent whimpers of his grandpa with sensitivity far greater than his parents Why else, should I feel jealous of the wasted lottery seller, Villie, who carries behind her shabby attire and even shabbier house, a heart of gold that gladly spills over to brighten her neigbours gloomy lives Why, else, should I envy Husain, the looted peon, who possesses a spirit so much greater than the loss he suffered at the hands of religious fanatics that his volatility alone is his purifying fragrance Why, else, should I feel staggered at the pouring of Mr.Kapur, whose benevolence weds passion in such fierce ceremony that his employees, Yezad and Husain get absolved of all their sorrows in its pious fire Why, else, should I feel frozen to witness the eternal nerve of meritoriousness that holds its own in Jal, despite three dominating decades of Coomy s heedlessness Why, else, should I stand dwarfed by Nariman who bears the burning thorns on his soul, adamantly barricading their venomous pricks from seeping into his heart and its inhabitants When the flute of life suddenly starts belting cantankerous sounds, it is easier to blame the flute maker the chinks in our playing armour are conveniently swept beneath the carpet That the sea of life will keep us afloat for a while and then swallow us without exception is a reality that eludes us when we are on shore It is only the compassionate, who can not only empathize with the unruliness of the sea from afar but also send a boat of good words and deeds to ease the ride for those who are sea bound next A letter is like a perfume You don t apply a whole bottle Just one dab will fill your senses Words are the same a few are sufficient All days would remain the same if not for an act of kindness or a sliver of smile Mistry knew it better than many of us Hence, he did not leave a single chapter in this magnificent book where the beauty of innocence did not bathe us anew or the splendor of solidarity did not shake our shackles His observations kissed the earthy tones of daily life and enlivened their cells to shine a little He mixed the odours of past and present and softly pressed the nozzle to fill the future room with a foreign aroma that became our own on touching our skins He maneuvered with utmost care, almost gracefully imitating Nariman s movements, not ruffling our senses acutely but with a gentle thrust, like shaking a medicine bottle to get the mix right and placed a few shards of mirror on our palms they did not cut, they did not intimidate, they simply showed our reflection Amazing, how a photo shows you things that your eyes forgot to see

  2. says:

    Update 2.99 kindle special today It s fabulous I still haven t read A Fine Balance yet but own it Everyone says that Books fantastic as well Yet I find it hard to believe that the author could write another book any better than this one Perhaps A 2.99 special for this family epic novel is a fantastic price UPDATE.Nov 17th Completed Book.Completed Review STAGE 2 This is my first book by Robinton Mistry a dangerous novel to begin at 1am Thankfully, the prior five hours sleep sustained me for another 5 hours At which point, I had to drift off again for a little morning sleep Note Today is Friday, Nov 6th Hmmm, our daughter s 30th birthday FAMILY MATTERS see, I couldn t resist not thinking of family I was inspired to read this from having read Seemita s review 3 times Thank You, Seemita Note I bought a physical book like New , for a penny, plus shipping for a total of 4.00 Crazy ridiculously beautiful this book is whom I ll share with, my aunt,and my neighbor Ardis A few of my personal book lovers don t e read, so it s important for me to give or share physical books This book which traveled far to reach me will land in the hands of others who will appreciate it I ll be writing this review in stages I m obviously not finished with the book yet STAGE 1 I ve read 113 pages so far.At this point it s Nariman Vakeel whom my heart breaks most Having Parkinson s disease is no picnic, but then add the need for a hearing aid, bifocals, and dentures.He has osteoporosis, and a broken leg Medications, sleeping pills and anti diarrhea, etc , are needed one must remember the schedule Bathing, clean clothes, simple tasks become difficult Depression can be depressing The challenge of living with dignity with a failing physical bodycould seem hopeless.Enter the mind What haunts Nariman, besides the fact that his independent life has been stripped away is his memories for the woman he loved forbidden to marry torments him again and againI ll Be Back..5 stars so far if it goes down by the end of the book I ll change the stars then STAGE 2 Nariman is still the central character in my mind 79 year old retired professor suffering The deeper I think about Nariman, the it s clear he is suffering from all the most cherish things in life love, health, happiness, and freedom Two days ago I was speaking to my close friend 76 year old retired professor , whose mother celebrated her 100th birthday just a month ago They had a 3 day huge family celebration for her She is in excellent health and looks amazing My 76 year old retired professor friend who passed on his thoughts to me about how to read the book Ulysses , by James Joyce , is also in great health, happy, loved, and thriving in all areas of his life Married 45 years..travels. no depression..loves to dance has a dance studio in their home , and very the opposite from Nariman So maybe there is hope Yet..with the fragility that life iswe never know what s around the corner Some days in our own outlook on life it can stink , with feelings like we re sloshing through the mud other days are smooth rolling and good enough and at rare times we feel exuberant Yet, another big difference between my retired professor s friends life and most of our lives , than with Narimam, was freedom of choice By following the rules, beliefs, traditions, customs, of the Parsee Zoroastrian , religion Nariman wasn t allowed to marry Lucy because she wasn t of the same faith I looked up information about Zoroastrianism an ancient religious fading faith which was important in this novel, because we got to see the bigger picture of problems that occur long lasting people scared from not being allowed intermarriage It s never just one person who suffers when rights are taken away A fricken train load of people also suffer Nariman s stepchildren carried resentment toward him Coomy was bitter and domineering Jal was mild mannered and acquiescent When they no longer wanted to take care of him mostly tired of taking cared of his bodily functions..after he broke his leg They pass Nariman off to his biological daughter Roxana, her husband Yezad, and their two boys Jehanjir, and Murad originally only for three weeks.but with squabbling fretting arguing feeling guilty , they begged not to take him back Smashed together like sardines in a small apartment flat, Roxana was a saint in taking care of her father but she and Yezad were starting to fight over finances Roxana and Yezad are also fighting with Coomy and Jal The young children were having struggles adjusting as well Downstairs was Yezad s boss from The Bombay Sporting Goods Emporium, Mr Vikram Kapur , and a violinist from The Bombay Symphony, Daisy Daisy visited Nariman to play her violin to add comfort Each character had different personal concerns and challenges I found I really couldn t judge any of them harshly but there were times I wished a character made a different choice than they did For example Yezad started gambling illegally because he was having a hard time making ends with the added financial stress medical costs, etc , from having Nariman live with them The setting in Bombay is integral to the book the customs, languages, politics, religions, constant conflicts between Hindus and Muslims , and the overall spirit Reading Family Matters was sometimes sad it hurt, other times, so dramatic II laughed silly What happened here , asked Yezad Fight Merman Irani explained that a scuffle had broken out with a customer Saalo maaderchod came in like a king, sat down, and ordered tea with bun muskaa, extra butter and all With loud busy teeth, batchar batcher, the bastard ate everything, happy as a goat in a garbage dump, and gurgled down his tea When he got the bill he said, Sorry, no money My waiter thought he was joking But the bhonsrino kept refusing to pay That was when the waiter pushed him and the fight began Eventually, three waiters held the man down while Merwan himself went through the man s pockets But I found nothing except a snot filled hankerchief Absolute karko, not one paisa He said he had no money, but he was hungry just imagine the maaderchod s courage At least he was honest, said Vilas A masterpiece in the city of Bombay capturing the essence of India Timeless Terrific This was written in 2002 13 years ago feels like it was written today I recently read a debut novel, In Another Life , by Julie Christine Johnson,..which I feel will prove to be Timeless These at my favorite types of books. books that are ageless I highly recommend FAMILY MATTERS.with its universal family, illness, life transitions, sibling rivalry, religion, financial stress, poverty, politics, culture, betrayal, loss, death, friendships, strengths, failings, regret, secrets, and our ordinary lives which are extraordinary in themselves This novel was like a friend Thank you to Seemita my friend and inspiration in reading this

  3. says:

    As Nariman counts his last breaths amid the serene violin rendition of Brahms Lullaby, played by Daisy, my mind races through a gloomy apartment where the stale odor of eau de cologne amalgamates in the air of misery thriving among the bustling of outside traffic and noisy vendors trying to earn their daily wage unaware of Nariman s existence The acridity of my parched throat makes me think about my death Will I die as a happy soul or will death be a gift that I would crave in the course of vulnerable seclusion This is how Mistry s words affect me, as I breathe and feel every emotion that flows through the ink It is not because of my familiarity with the physical surroundings or the Parsi community, but the fact that Mistry writes a simple story of nameless ordinary faces with astonishing lives Old age and Parkinson s disease has not only bed ridden Nariman but made him a burden on his financially challenged children Coomy and Jal, his step children, both heading their prime and plagued by their own ailments coax Nariman s biological daughter Roxanna into providing healthcare to her ailing father A middle class housewife with two young kids and a budgeted monthly survival faces a monstrous task by burning the candle at both ends The woes of middle classes ripened by bigotry and communalism are highlighted with sheer accuracy throughout the manuscript The preposterous stubbornness of arranged marriages, the segregation of religious identities, stigmatism of step parental aspects and the eternal financial instabilities mesh into a burdensome desperation of graphic cunningness In Asian cultures, looking after elderly parents is viewed not only dutiful but the most obedient thing to do The concept of old aged homes is highly condemned in the Indian society also, many other Asian cultures Old age can be cruel and if plagued by incurable diseases it becomes a metal cage A man who once was free to walk in the by lanes of his vicinity and enjoy a wonderful German orchestra at the nearby concert hall Nariman was reduced to a mere caged mortal who longed for freedom to breathe fresh air, feel the splatter of rainwater as he walked through the puddles and for once make his own choices without being reprimanded for his doings I empathize towards Nariman than any other character in the book Nariman could never marry his true love Lucy, for she was a Catholic, he could not bring his step daughter Coomy to accept him as her father and now he was the sole reason for the rifts between his children I wonder if my grandparents could have had found happiness if they were not arranged to be married What would the circumstances be if my father was not financially well enough to take care of my grandfather during his last days surviving cancer Would we have been deprived of basic amenities like butter or hot water and frantically hoped to find additional money in the budgeted envelopes of monthly payments In a society where corruption is spelled in gold letters, and a man s potency is derived from his monetary success, money matters come what may.Each sketched characters defines the ebb and flow of life and its greatness that we as children dream to achieve Right from Nariman to Roxanna and even Yehzad Roxanna s husband who once nurtured the dream of Canadian immigration, somehow end up in a vortex of familial or financial obligations of a capricious life Mistry does not adhere either to pompous melancholic facades or epical anecdotes He throws out the phrase of ordinary people with ordinary lives For if, lives were ordinary, nostalgia would not be such a pain in the arse and worries would not construct topsy turvy pathways.

  4. says:

    Well, I read this the whole way through and Steve Urkel didn t appear once, folks.This confirms my suspicion that Rohinton Mistry is one of the finest writers of our time While I still preferred A Fine Balance of the two stories I ve read by him it was grander in scale , the intimate Family Matters is still 100 percent 5 star fare with rich, evocative, Dickensian characters, set against the sprawling, corrupt, bustling backdrop of Bombay soon to be Mumbai, India.When the 79 year old patriarch of a Parsi family Nariman recently diagnosed with Parkinson s disease breaks his ankle and becomes bedridden, his stepson Jal and stepdaughter Coomy become overwhelmed caring for him, and enlist the help of their half sister, Roxana And by enlist, I mean show up unannounced at her two room cramped flat which she shares with her husband Yezad and two small children, Jehangir and Murad and unceremoniously dump Nariman off Despite the close quarters, Roxana does her best to make this new living situation work, mostly because of her absolute, unconditional love for her father, and the strong bond the family shares Jehangir and Murad see the new living arrangement as a huge adventure, fighting over whose turn it is to sleep on the balcony there is no room in the flat , and airplane feeding their cherished grandfather his meals.All bonds are tested, however the book examines what happens when the family repeatedly is taken to its limit The point of view is third person omniscient, with special care given to Jehangir, who is the youngest and most impressionable when Nariman moves in It s only fitting that he delivers the Epilogue in the first person Corruption, jealousy, regret, and resentment all take turns rearing their heads I found myself wondering again and again if the story would have a happy ending I don t think it s a spoiler to say the author delivers both happy and sad, as he is adept at delivering throughout.Like with A Fine Balance, I was in complete awe at how deftly Mistry wrote realistic yet poetic dialogue, and weaved the struggles and problems of India at large into a single cast of memorable, yet ordinary characters Mistry demonstrates better than any writer that every individual has an amazing story to tell.Magnificent.

  5. says:

    Curious, he thought, how, if you knew a person long enough, he could elicit every kind of emotion from you, every possible reaction, envy, admiration, pity, irritation, fury, fondness, jealousy, love, disgust But in the end all human beings became candidates for compassion, all of us, without exceptionand if we could recognize this from the beginning, what a saving in pain and grief and misery This thought from Yezad ch 17 sums up his moment of insight in this teeming story of generational family matters , complicated by inter religious bickering, unfaithfulness of various kinds, jealousies, rivalries and surrounded by the massively overwhelming city of Bombay, being reborn but not really changed as Mumbai.Mistry is a master of the detail In this city of millions, he finds the details to make a short walk memorable, the different sects and types to populate the streets, all for background to the main story of the Vakeels and Contractors and Chenoys There are moments of beautiful emotion balanced against extreme thoughtlessness bordering on hate, described so well I felt I could see the faces, hear the words.There is so much here it is Dickensian in scope and has many of the same concerns poverty, illness, inequality of opportunity, politics and government all as malevolent influences on daily life But this is modern day not 19th century This is a family struggling to be a modern family in the late 20th century but cursed by family hatreds and misunderstandings Such is life anywhere and everywhere perhaps.Highly recommended 4

  6. says:

    What, I didn t review Family Matters Okay, here is the review Rohinton Mistry three novels, three five star ratingsWow

  7. says:

    I have been mulling over my review for this book all day I ended up really unsure of my feelings about it I suppose up until the events of the last third I was happy to give this one a ringing endorsement The titular family matters under discussion are principally the care of the elderly Nariman, afflicted with Parkinsons and a broken ankle he is unceremoniously deposited with his daughters family, the care of whom places enormous strain on an already stretched family budget This premise allows Mistry to explore many social problems in the Bombay of this novel poverty, care of the elderly, religious intolerance, corruption, gambling, the caste system.I immediately enjoyed the slight culture shock of being plunged into this Parsi Zoroastrian family and its bitter sweet domestic dramas It is written both tenderly and also unflinchingly we are not spared any of the indignities of old age that Nariman must face There are several uncomfortable scenes involving bedpans and general bodily function that are going to be hard to forget However, at its best this book conjures up a Bombay full of contradictions and interesting characters I admired how Mistry made me feel like you could come to love this city and despise it at the same time There are fantastic characters in this book, often the minor ones were the most memorable the scribe who reads and writes letters for illiterate workers, the enthusiastic handyman who vastly overestimates his abilities In the end I was let down a little by the last quarter of this book Two events occurred that or less knocked me out of my reading orbit and I feel like the author took a slightly different direction at this point than I had wanted to go Its not that I expected a particularly happy conclusion but the almost comedic beginning didn t match the rather gloomy religiosity of the ending Family Matters is a beautifully written account of both life in Bombay and the Parsi Zorastican culture as well as the universal experience of aging and for that I recommend it.Certainly, I will be revisiting Rohinton Mistry in the future.

  8. says:

    This is my second straight read of Rohinton Mistry after Such a long journey The strength of his books is very clearly in the colourful build up of the characters They are so real that you start reading along, thinking how easily you could be in this situation yourself.The story of Yezad, his wife Roxanna, their children, dependent father in law Nariman Vakeel, Nariman s step children Coomie and Jal The book toggles between Nariman s life the joys and pains, as also his having to marry someone other than the love of his life There is a very tragic incident involving both his wife and love which is revealed much later in the book At the present time, Nariman breaks his leg and ends up being bed ridden for a period His step children Coomie and Jal struggle to take care of him, and he moves temporarily to his daughter Roxanna and family s place As part of a lower middle class family, Yezad and Roxanna struggle to make ends meet, and with this the care required for Nariman falls on them.There are very touching incidents revealing what a very hard situation can do to good people While Yezad toys with ways to somehow make some money, the children feel obligated to chip in as well As in Such a long journey , there are random musings by the characters in the story about Mumbai, its problems, the politics and everything else.After periods of struggle, the characters settle to a kind of troubled peace where though financial worries subside to some extent, real peace of mind is still elusive.Do not expect grand plots or twists Instead though you will find real people and live their joy and sorrow, as you read And for that the book is certainly recommended.

  9. says:

    This novel was another of my bibliotherapy prescriptions, specifically intended as a cure for worry about ageing parents Retired professor Nariman Vakeel, 79, has Parkinson s disease and within the first few chapters has also fallen and broken his ankle His grown stepchildren, Coomy and Jal, who are reluctant to care for him anyway, decide they can t cope with the daily reality of bedpans, sponge baths and spoon feeding and conspire to make it look like it s impossible to keep Pappa in their large apartment at Chateau Felicity He ll simply have to go recuperate at Pleasant Villa in the care of his daughter Roxana and her husband and sons, even though their two bedroom apartment is barely large enough for the family of four You have to wince at the irony of the names for these two Bombay housing blocks, and at the bitter contrast between selfishness and duty The spoiled stepchildren have plenty of money to hire a nurse, but shunt Pappa off to their poor relations instead, forcing Roxana s husband Yezad and younger son Jehangir to resort to dodgy ways of making money quickly.Perhaps inevitably, Nariman starts to fade into the background An increasingly speechless invalid, he only comes alive through his past italicized sections, presented as his night time ravings, tell of his love for Lucy, whom his parents refused to let him marry, and the untimely end of his arranged marriage Mistry drifts between the third person perspectives of most of the main characters, especially Yezad and Jehangir My reading progress slowed and nearly stalled two thirds through when the plot focuses on Yezad s work at the Bombay Sporting Goods Emporium and his attempts to earn a promotion I also wish had been made of his attempt to emigrate to Canada.Overall, though, I enjoyed the time spent in a vibrantly realized Indian city and appreciated the chance to learn about a lesser known community Nariman and his whole family are Parsis or Zoroastrians, a tight knit community with its own rituals and concerns about ethnic purity There s also a faint echo here of King Lear, with one faithful daughter set against two wicked children Nariman recognizes the parallel, shaking his head that, having taught Lear so many times, he didn t learn its lessons Luckily Mistry doesn t follow the tragedy through to its full extent one particularly odious character gets a proper comeuppance, and the innocent one who suffers is a minor player.As to ageing parents, this is a pretty relentlessly bleak picture, but there are some sparks of light joy in life s little celebrations, and unexpected kindnesses, like neighbor Daisy being willing to come play her violin any time Nariman is distressed Mistry s epic has plenty of tender moments that bring it down to an intimate scale I ll be keen to read his other novels.Favorite lines The joy and laughter and youth they his grandsons brought was an antidote to the sombreness enveloping his flat, the hours when he felt the very walls and ceilings were encrusted with the distress of unhappy decades The balcony door framed the scene nine year old happily feeding seventy nine Nariman There s only one way to defeat the sorrow and sadness of life with laughter and rejoicing Bring out the good dishes, put on your good clothes, no sense hoarding them Roxana No time like the present It s a chance to practise kindness every day, like Daisy practises her violin If they learn kindness, happiness will follow Plus fun mentions of other Indian novels, including one of his own Modern ideas have filled Nari s head He never learned to preserve that fine balance between tradition and modern ness Yezad felt that Punjabi migrants of a certain age were like Indian authors writing about that period, whether in realist novels of corpse filled trains or in the magic realist midnight muddles

  10. says:

    I usually feel a little bit of glow after finishing any book I have the bad habit of calling every book I just finished my favorite until I finish the next one But in this case, I really must stress that Family Matters is one of the best books I have ever read I never re read books, but this is one of those rare gems that even I want to return to If you took all of Shakespeare s tragedies, condensed them into a story about one family, and set it in Bombay in the 1990s, this book would be the result Family Matters goes above and beyond the mundane and the domestic even though most of the action takes place in a one bedroom apartment and tells the story of human beings and their relationships to one another both the sublime and the foolish, the selfish and the divine.In this book Mistry makes several obscure references to India, Indian politics, and Zoroastrianism, and several pieces of dialog are in various languages other than English, but despite these barriers for a Western reader, I would whole heartedly recommend this novel to anyone I know, especially to anyone who likes Shakespeare or otherwise enjoys stories that tackle all the really hard questions There are several funny and witty moments throughout the book, but overall the tone is one of heart crushing poignancy Sometimes it was literally painful to read this book because so many scenes and remarks and characters were so powerful and moving in short, this is not a book to be picked up and put down lightly You will get involved in it as though every joy and tragedy were happening within your own family.