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Rohinton Mistry

Born in Bombay, India, Rohinton Mistry came to Canada in 1975 after receiving his B.Sc. from the University of Bombay.  While working at a bank, he continued studying and earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1984. Mistry’s first book, Tales From Firozsha Baag, is a collection of short fiction that was first published in 1987.  Many of the characters in his work are members of the Parsi faith community living in Bombay (Mumbai) India.  Mistry lived for many years in Brampton, Ontario but now has relocated to Toronto.  He is one of five recipients of the Trudeau Fellows Prize, announced April 29, 2004, that recognizes exceptional contributions to issues of public policy.
Rohinton Mistry was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from Toronto Metropolitan University at the convocation of the Faculty of Communication & Design on June 8, 2012.  YouTube video of Dr. Mistry’s interview.
Mistry is the winner of the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.


Family Matters

Toronto: M&S, 2002.
PS8576 .I78 F34 2002

Publisher’s Synopsis (M&S, 2002)

Rohinton Mistry’s magnificent new novel tells a story of familial love and obligation; of political and personal corruption; of memory’s ability to keep truth alive, and the danger of memory denied. At once sweeping and intimate, comic and tragic, it is a kaleidoscopic, profoundly affecting saga.

Awards and Honours

2002 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize–Fiction (Winner)
2002 Library Journal Best Books of the Year
2002 Man Booker Prize (Nominated)
2002 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
2003 CAA MOSAID Technologies Inc. Award for Fiction (Canadian Authors Association)(Winner)
2003 RUSA Notable Books (American Library Association)
2003 Torgi Literary Awards for Books in Alternative Formats (CNIB-Produced Fiction)(Winner)
2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (Finalist)


A Fine Balance

Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1995.
New York : Knopf, 1997. (trade pbk.)

PS8576 .I78 F5 1997

Publisher’s Synopsis (McClelland and Stewart, 1995)

Set in India in the mid-1970s, A Fine Balance is a richly textured novel which sweeps the reader up into its special world.  Large in scope, the narrative focuses on four unlikely people who come together in a flat in the city soon after the government declares a “State of Internal Emergency.”  Through days of bleakness and hope, their lives become entwined in circumstances no one could have foreseen.

Awards and Honours

1995 Giller Prize (Winner)
1996 Commonwealth Book Prize–Best Book (Winner)
1996 Man Booker Prize (Nominated)
1996 Los Angeles Times Book Prize-Fiction (Winner)
1996 The Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize (Winner)
1997 Irish Times International Fiction Prize (Nominated)
1997 RUSA Notable Book (American Library Association)
1998 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (Nominated)
2001 Oprah’s Book Club


Such a Long Journey

Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1991.
Toronto: M&S, 1993. (New Canadian Library)

PS8576 .I78 S792 1993
PS8576 .I78 S79 1993

Toronto: M&S, 1999. (movie tie-in)

Publisher’s Synopsis (M&S, 1993)

In Rohinton Mistry’s first novel Such a Long Journey, Gustad Noble, a dedicated and somewhat innocent bank clerk, finds his familial life and his professional life unravelling as his son rejects filial piety, his best friend involves him in political intrigue, and his own rationality and morality confront a world of change.

Set in Bombay with its turbulent national politics complemented by worse tensions on the international scene, the novel teems with the life of its city and the many characters who populate Gustad Noble’s world.

Awards and Honours

1991 Governor-General’s Literary Awards–English–Fiction (Winner)
1991 Booker Prize (Nominated)
1991 in Canada First Novel Award (formerly Smith Books/Books in Canada) (Winner)
1992 Commonwealth Book Prize–Best Book (Winner)


Tales From Firozsha Baag

Toronto: Emblem Editions, 2002
PS8576 .I78 T34 2002

Published in the U.S.A. under title: Swimming Lessons and Other Stories From Firozsha Baag.

Publisher’s Synopsis (Penguin Books Canada, 1987)

Here is a wonderful introduction to the residents of Firozsha Baag, an apartment complex in Bombay.  We enter the daily routine and rhythm of their lives — the visits of the egg man, biscuit walla and fishwalla; we hear the rag man’s song.

Awards and Honours

1987 Governor General’s Literary Awards–English Fiction (Nominated)


Writing Life

PS8367 .A8 W75 2006

Mistry, Rohinton. “Welcome to Acada.” In Writing Life: Celebrated Canadian and International Authors on Writing and Life, edited by Constance Rooke. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2006, 266-276.

Anthology (Political Satire)

Mistry, Rohinton. “From Plus-fours to Minus-fours.” In The Ark in the Garden: Fables for Our Time, Collected by Alberto Manguel. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 1998, [40]-51.

PZ8.2 .A74 A74 1998

Anthology (Portrait)

“Rohinton Mistry.” In Tata, Sam. Portraits of Canadian Writers, edited by John Metcalf. Erin, Ont.: Porcupine’s Quill, 1991, 30-[31].

TR681 .A85 T3 1991

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

Batra, Jagdish. “Cultural Ethos and Ethnic Values: A Study of Rohinton Mistry.” In Canadian Studies Today: Responses from the Asia-Pacific, ed. by Stewart Gill, R.K. Dhawan, [159]-169. Delhi: Prestige, 2009.
FC155 .P36 2008

Batra, Jagdish. Rohinton Mistry: Identity, Values and Other Sociological Concerns. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 2008.

Bharucha, Nilufer E. Rohinton Mistry: Ethnic Enclosures and Transcultural Spaces. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, 2003.
PS8576 .I78 Z43 2003

Bhatia, Suman. “Oppression and Resistance in Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.” In The Indian Diasporic Writing (Theory and Discourse), ed. Satyavir S. Phulia and Hemant Verma. New Delhi: Shri Sai Printographers, 2009, 108-115.
PR9485.45 .I53 2009

Collin, Sarah Christine. “Matters of Multiculturalism: Approaching a Canadian Politics of Belonging.” M.A. diss., University of Guelph, 1996.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Dangwal, Surekha. “Image of India in Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children: A Comparative Study Towards Diasporic Consciousness.” In Contemporary Commonwealth Literature, ed. R.K. Dhawan. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 2006.
PR9080 .C66 2006

Dodiya, Jaydipsinh, ed. The Fiction of Rohinton Mistry: Critical Studies. London: Sangam Books, 1998.
PS8576 .I78 Z6 1998

Dodiya, Jaydipsinh K., ed. The Novels of Rohinton Mistry: Critical Studies. New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2004.
PS8576 .I78 Z68 2004

Gardner, Barbara J.  “Speaking Voices in Postcolonial Indian Novels from Orientalism to Outsourcing.”  Ph.D. diss., Georgia State University, 2012.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Genetsch, Martin. The Texture of Identity: The Fiction of MG Vassanji, Neil Bissoondath, and Rohinton Mistry. Toronto: TSAR, 2008.
PS8089.5 .S68 G45 2007

Goyal, Sanka. “Different Attitudes Towards West: A Study of Mistry and Lahiri.” In The Indian Diasporic Writing (Theory and Discourse), ed. Satyavir S. Phulia and Hemant Verma. New Delhi: Shri Sai Printographers, 2009, 116-124.
PR9485.45 .I53 2009

Hoops, Janet Lynn.  “Women in Rohinton Mistry’s Fiction.”  M.A. diss., The University of New Brunswick, 1998.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Kain, Geoffrey. “The Enigma of Departure: The Dynamics of Cultural Ambiguity in Rohinton Mistry’s Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag.” In Ideas of Home: Literature of Asian Migration. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1997, 63-74.
PS153 .A84 I34 1997

Kahkeshan, Sanober. “Diasporal Reflection in the Works of Rohinton Mistry.” In Literature of Diaspora: Cultural Dislocation, ed. Shaikh Samad. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2009, 98-103.
PR9485.2 .N38 2009

Kandiuk, Mary. “Rohinton Mistry.” In Caribbean and South Asian Writers in Canada: A Bibliography of Their Works and of English-language Criticism. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2007, 78-93.
PS8089.5 .C37 K36 2007

Kasibhatla, Jaya Nandita.  “Constituting the Exception: Law, Literature and the State of Emergency in Postcolonial India.”  Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 2005.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Kyser, Kristina.  “Reading Canada Biblically: A Study of Biblical Allusion and the Construction of Nation in Contemporary Canadian Writing.”  Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 2004.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Leckie, Barbara. “Rohinton Mistry and His Works.” In Canadian Writers and Their Works. Fiction Series. Vol. 11, ed. Robert Lecker, Jack David and Ellen Quigley, 213-266. Toronto: ECW Press, 1996.
PS8187 .C375 v.11

Malcolm, Carolyn Patricia.  “Settlement Fictions: Global South Literature and the Postcolonial Urban Imaginary.”  Ph.D. diss., Rutgers the State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick, 2012.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Malieckal, Bindu. “Rohinton Mistry.” In Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, ed. Emmanuel S. Nelson, [219]-228. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.
PS153 .A84 A825 2000

Morey, Peter. “Post-colonial Destinations: Spatial Re(con)figurings in Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.” Chap. in Fictions of India: Narrative and Power. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000.
PR888 .I6 M67 2000

Morey, Peter. Rohinton Mistry. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.
PS8576 .I78 Z875 2004

Mukherjee, Arun. “Narrating India: Rohinton Mistry’s ‘Such a Long Journey’.” In Oppositional Aesthetics: Readings from a Hyphenated Space. Toronto: TSAR, 1994, 144-151.
PS8089.5 .M5 M85 1994

Nagappan, Ramu. “Speaking Havoc: Social Suffering and the South Asian Imagination, 1947-1997.” Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2000.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Parks, Vanessa.  “Becoming Canadian: Narrating National Identity Through the History of Elsewhere.”  M.A. diss., University of Guelph, 2008.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Patil, Umesh Gulabrao. “Rohinton Mistry: A Diaspora Writer.” In Indian Diasporic Literature: Text, Context and Interpretation, ed. Shalini Dube, 36-43. New Delhi: Shree Publishers, 2009.
PK5416 .I53 2009

Ramaswamy, S. “The Mystery of Mistry as Tiresias: A Study of “Lend me Your Light”.” In his Commentaries on Canadian Literature. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 2006, 124-132.
PS8077.1 .R36 2006

Roberts, Gillian. “The’Bombay-born, Canadian-based Banker’: Rohinton Mistry’s Hospitality at the Threshold.” Chap. in her Prizing Literature: The Celebration and Circulation of National Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011, 138-180.
PS8089.5 .I5 R62 2011

Rushton, Beth. “Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters: A Reading About Death.” In Canadian Studies Today: Responses from the Asia-Pacific, ed. by Stewart Gill, R.K. Dhawan, [152]-158. Delhi: Prestige, 2009.
FC155 .P36 2008

Salaye, Narvadha. “Marginalisation and the Construction of South-Asian Identity in Novels by Rohinton Mistry, Shyam Selvadurai and Moyez Vassanji.” M.A. diss., Université de Sherbrooke, 2002.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Selvam, P. Humanism in the Novels of Rohinton Mistry. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2009.
PS8576 .I78 Z93 2009

Shah, Nila. “Re-narrating History of a Community and Country: Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey and A Fine Balance.” Chap. in Novel as History. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2003, 102-120.
PR9492.6 .H5 S53 2003

Singh, Bhan. “Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey: The Parsi Feelings.” In The Indian Diasporic Writing (Theory and Discourse), ed. Satyavir S. Phulia and Hemant Verma. New Delhi: Shri Sai Printographers, 2009, 101-107.
PR9485.45 .I53 2009

Smyrl, Shannon Lorene. “”In all Their Diversity”: Ethnicity and the Anxiety of Nation-building in English-Canadian Literary Studies at the End of the Millennium.” Ph.D. diss., Queen’s University at Kingston, 2001.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Sukumari, B. “Gendered Spaces in Desi and Diasporic Fiction: Arundhati Roy and Rohinton Minstry.” In The Expatriate Indian Writing in English. Vol. 2, ed. T. Vinoda and P. Shailaja, 2006, 224-238.
PR9489.6 .E96 2006 v.2

Tokaryk, J. Tyler.  “”Development is Like a Giraffe”: Competing Narratives of Development Assistance From John Maynard Keynes to Rohinton Mistry.”  Ph.D. diss., The University of Western Ontario, 2001.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Weagel, Deborah.  “The Metaphor of the Quilt in Contemporary Asian Indian and American Indian Literature.”  Ph.D. diss., The University of New Mexico, 2006.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses


Reading Guide for A Fine Balance

Reading Guide for Family Matters

Mistry’s Canadian publisher McClelland and Stewart Ltd. has information about his works

Profile by Linda Richards from January Magazine