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Performing in the spaces of city and nation in A Fine Balance
Peter Morey

true of Such a Long Journey, the same can be said of Mistry’s second novel, where a family of a quite unorthodox kind develops out of an initial atmosphere of squabbling and mutual mistrust, before being torn apart by the blind exercise of a capricious brutality. Yet, A Fine Balance also reveals Mistry’s expanding field of vision, now moving beyond Parsi life to embrace the fate of the wider Indian community at the time of Indira Gandhi’s infamous State of Emergency (1975–77). As John Ball has put it: ‘in its careful exploration of diverse gender, class and religious

in Rohinton Mistry
Open Access (free)
Peter Morey

have both observed that Mistry deprives his characters of any radical agency in the fraught political situation of the Emergency, instead producing a bleak account at odds with popular opposition to state initiatives both at the time and since. Bhatnagar claims that ‘the text highlights the elements of despair at the cost of presenting an accurate description of the forces of resistance’.25 For her, the character of Avinash provides an embodiment of the resistant spirit abroad at the time, but is too quickly silenced. Nor is any indication given of how the lower

in Rohinton Mistry
International man of stories
Peter Morey

consolation. The first novel, Such a Long Journey, asks questions about the trustworthiness of language as communication in a climate of political intrigue and duplicity and, while concluding that the consolations of friendship and loyalty are to be recommended, also acknowledges their temporary nature. A Fine Balance carries these interests onto the battlefield that is the India of Mrs Gandhi’s Emergency, a terrain populated by grimacing henchman and stoical eccentrics whose larger-than-life qualities take the book beyond the realm Morey_Mistry_07_Ch7 171 9/6/04, 4

in Rohinton Mistry
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Language, lies and the crisis of representation in Such a Long Journey
Peter Morey

State of Emergency. Likewise, the existence or otherwise of a spiritual realm of ideal forms is not really the issue. Rather, Mistry appears to understand the necessity of some form of idealism to the whole concept of life’s journey: whether it be an ideal of family life, of which the Noble unit inevitably falls short, or the belief that politics ought to be motivated by a sense of social responsibility and altruism instead of self-interest and corruption. Typical of Mistry’s attitude to human belief systems – that they are a bulwark against contingency and chaos – is

in Rohinton Mistry
The poetics of sustainability and the politics of what we’re sustaining
Matthew Griffiths

the Window, 1918’ resonates with the ‘trembling colony’ that we inhabit in ‘Belief System’ – is taken up again in the final poem, ‘No Long Way Round’ (Graham 2008a: 54–6). This offers a coda to the motifs and themes of the collection, again contrasting the incommensurability of global environmental crisis with everyday experience. In two passages of this last poem, the verse clumps into a pair of paragraphs resembling prose. The first of these, beginning ‘It is an emergency actually’, centres on the break ‘the whole 15,000 years of the inter- / glacial period

in Literature and sustainability
Open Access (free)
Peter Morey

patriotism at the time of the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, and which provides the main plotline in Such a Long Journey; in Indira’s promotion of her wayward, ruthless – and unelected – son Sanjay to the upper reaches of the Congress Party hierarchy; and in the antidemocratic brutality of the 1975 State of Emergency, characterised by the suppression of opposition and a programme of civic ‘beautification’ which quickly Morey_Mistry_01_Chap 1 22 9/6/04, 4:06 pm Contexts and intertexts 23 degenerated into the nightmare cavalcade of violent slum clearances and enforced

in Rohinton Mistry
Theorising the en-gendered nation
Elleke Boehmer

’s nineteenth-century ‘Bharat Mata’ or ‘Mataram’ formulation. By short-circuiting history (the 1975 Emergency) and myth (‘Mayashakti mothers’ and destructive widows), the novel thus succeeds in setting up a malign (feminine) principle as the motor force governing the disintegration of the by-now-dysfunctional national family.14 Along very similar lines, in Shame, the metaphysical quality of the nation’s shame – all that has gone amiss in terms of the abuse of power – is embodied in the blushing, wordless, demented figure of Sufiya Zinobia, Omar Khayyam’s at first virginal, then

in Stories of women
Open Access (free)
Jonathan Atkin

European diplomats in general (except Sir Edward Grey), and he declared them all to be infantile, ignoble and ‘altogether rascally’ in articles for the Daily News and Saturday Evening Post during the second month of the war. Placing his trust in himself, early in the war Bennett became a representative on the Thorpe Division Emergency Committee for his local area, Essex, established in order to assist the evacuation of civilians in the event of a German invasion. This was only the beginning of his practical involvement in the running of the war. He became the permanent

in A war of individuals
Sustaining literature
Claire Colebrook

the sublime renders a ruined present into an imagined glorious defeat). Both Chris Nolan’s Interstellar (2014) and Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium (2013) begin 128 Discourses of sustainability with a world defeated by anthropogenic climate change, and with a humanity vanquished by climate-opportunist corporations. The substitutions, tricks and thefts of Anthropocene inscription that occur with the short-circuiting of reading are not only evidenced in corporate dreams of geoengineering and other declared states of emergency that allow the geological scale to trump and

in Literature and sustainability
Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä, and Ingrid Ryberg

the broad contemporary Western concerns about the fate of humankind in the midst of economic polarisation and insecurity, global terrorism, the rise of right-​ wing nationalism, fast technological development, artificial intelligence, the mass extinction of species, climate change, and the Anthropocene (Haraway, 2016). This general sense of being/​becoming vulnerable is amplified by social media, for instance by the Facebook safety check on occasion of various attacks, emergencies, and disasters, which is critiqued for its Western bias (McHugh, 2015). Such broad

in The power of vulnerability