Last Friday the TV bookseller extraordinaire announced selection #44 in her on-air book club: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. The novel, Mistry's second (after Such a Long Journey), was first published in Canada (the author is a Canadian citizen) in 1995 by McClelland & Stewart, then by Knopf here, in 1996, followed by a Vintage trade paperback in '97. The Vintage edition had 64,500 copies in print pre-Oprah, and went back to press for an additional 700,000 subsequent to the announcement. Knopf will be reprinting an additional 12,500 copies in hardcover. Called "quietly magnificent" in a starred PW review, the novel won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Canada's Giller Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize in Fiction; it was also a finalist for the Booker. Set in the 1970s in a nameless Indian city, A Fine Balance centers on four disparate characters who inhabit a crowded apartment. Bearing in mind recent book club-related events, readers and Oprah-watchers are no doubt hoping that Mistry will accept her latest choice with grace and humility.
Volume 248 Issue 49 12/03/2001