To continue with some of the books I read in 2013, I thought I would mention A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. This is an amazing book, depicting India during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It collects hundreds of small images, spreading them out across a canvas woven with threads taken from the traditional caste system, British colonization and encroaching modernity. The picture thus painted is at times overwhelming, sad, inspiring, frustrating, unbelievable and depressing; however, at all times it maintains a definite integrity, and at no time does it slip into the muddy waters of sentimentality. As one of the characters says, "You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair...", and this, in essence, is what the book is all about. It is beautifully written with some wonderfully drawn characters. If you are looking for a 'feel good' book, I would suggest that you do not read A Fine Balance, but, by not reading it, you will miss out on a very special reading experience.
The image below is taken from 'World Literature Today'.