by Sukey HowardFebruary, 2003
All in the family
Papa, patriarch of a Parsi family, is dying slowly but irrevocably from Parkinson's disease. To escape the burden of his care, his two middle-aged stepchildren ship him off, unceremoniously, to his daughter, who lives in a tiny apartment with her husband and two young sons. Rohinton Mistry's new novel, Family Matters, elegantly and eloquently performed by Martin Jarvis, revolves around this difficult, painful situation. As Mistry brilliantly evokes the color, chaos and corruption of Bombay in the mid-1990s, he takes us into Papa's past, his reluctant submission to family pressure and the devastating repercussions of that submission repercussions that tear at the fabric of family life in this generation, too. You'll be lured into an intriguing consideration of the ties that bind and the ties that blind and you'll meet characters so well drawn that, though their culture is foreign and exotic to us, they become as endearing and exasperating as members of our own families.