We had to read this book for English so I assumed, along with the rest of my classmates, that it would be as boring as most of the pervious school novels had been. I complained along with the rest of the class (this book is huge), but in the end the book delivered just what the teacher said it would; a powerful story of suffering, joy and love that can touch even the hardest of hearts. Set in poverty stricken India, ‘A Fine Balance’ focuses on four different people who are brought together through drastic circumstances. Never before have I read a book that has documented such pain and suffering that has affected me so much. What makes this such a masterpiece is how Mistry is able to show that amid all of the extreme suffering there are moments of simple and yet great joy that can be found. Even in his writing style he emphasis the joyful moments; when something gut wrenchingly horrible happens he writes it as a simple fact, and saves the greatest detail to the happy moments. ‘A Fine Balance’ really hits hard for someone in our part of the world, who can’t help but find it impossible to understand that this kind of suffering actually does happen in other parts of the world; it’s almost like a slap in the face with a dose of reality that just can’t be ignored. Mistry makes us see just how real it is. One word of advice; don’t read ‘A Fine Balance’ if you’re in a mood to be cheered up, because it will do the complete opposite. But if you want to read something that will open your eyes and make you feel, this book is for you.