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If you’re looking for an engaging and thought-provoking audiobook, then Rohinton Mistry’s “Family Matters” might just be what you need. This novel takes listeners on a journey through the lives of an Indian family living in Bombay during the late 1990s.

Mistry’s writing style is nuanced and emotive, providing a rich and vivid portrayal of the characters and their struggles. The themes explored in the story, such as family, aging, and cultural identity, are universal and relevant to audiences of all backgrounds.

In this review, we will explore the various aspects of “Family Matters,” including the author’s background, plot summary, character analysis, setting, themes, narrative style, audiobook performance, critical reception, and our personal recommendation. So sit back, relax, and join us on this literary journey through the captivating world of “Family Matters.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Rohinton Mistry’s “Family Matters” is a captivating and thought-provoking audiobook that explores universal themes such as family, aging, and cultural identity.
  • The novel provides a rich and vivid portrayal of the characters and their struggles, allowing listeners to connect with their experiences on a deeper level.
  • The audiobook’s production quality and narration are top-notch, contributing to an enjoyable and engaging listening experience.
  • Overall, “Family Matters” is a highly recommended audiobook for those seeking a compelling and insightful story.

About the Author

Rohinton Mistry is a renowned Indian-born Canadian author, known for his poignant portrayals of life in India and the struggles of its people. Born in 1952 in Bombay (now Mumbai), Mistry migrated to Canada in 1975, where he studied at the University of Toronto and worked as a bank clerk before becoming a full-time writer.

Mistry’s works have received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the Order of Canada. He is known for his detailed character portrayals and exploration of the human condition, often in the context of familial relationships and societal issues.

Writing Style

Mistry’s writing style is characterized by vivid descriptions, compelling characters, and a depth of emotional insight. His works often explore themes of identity, belonging, and cultural displacement, with a particular focus on India and the Indian diaspora.

Mistry’s prose is often described as lyrical and evocative, with a keen eye for detail and a gift for creating memorable scenes and characters. His works are at once deeply personal and universally relevant, resonating with readers from all walks of life.

Themes in Mistry’s Works

Common themes in Mistry’s works include the meaning of family, the struggle for personal and cultural identity, the impact of societal change on individual lives, and the role of tradition in modern society. His stories often focus on the experiences of ordinary people, highlighting the complex web of relationships that shape our lives.

Plot Summary

In “Family Matters,” Rohinton Mistry tells a story of a Parsi family living in Mumbai, India. The audiobook centers around the patriarch of the family, Nariman Vakeel, and his two stepchildren, Jal and Coomy, who are struggling to care for him as his health declines.

After Nariman’s condition worsens, his biological daughter, Roxana, takes him into her home. However, tensions rise as Nariman’s presence disrupts the delicate balance Roxana has established with her husband, Yezad, and their two young sons.

The plot takes a dramatic turn as Yezad faces financial difficulties and becomes consumed by a dangerous obsession, putting the family at risk. The story ultimately leads to a poignant conclusion as each character confronts their own regrets and struggles to find peace in the midst of life’s challenges.

Character Analysis

In “Family Matters,” Rohinton Mistry skillfully crafts a nuanced portrait of a multigenerational family in Mumbai, India. Each character is complex and fully realized, with their own motivations and desires that drive the plot forward.

Character Motivations Relationships Development
Gustad Noble To provide for his family while grappling with personal demons Strained relationship with his father, deep affection for his wife and children, tentative friendship with his neighbor Transforms from a reluctant protagonist to a hero driven by his love for his family and community
Dilnavaz To keep the family together and mediate conflicts Loving and supportive wife to Gustad, mother to their three children, protective sister to her brother-in-law, strained relationship with her mother-in-law Gradually asserts her independence while maintaining her commitment to her family
Sohrab To find belonging and purpose in his life Close relationship with his grandfather, tension with his father, unrequited love for a family friend Transforms from a directionless young man to a mature and responsible adult

The dynamics within the family are shaped by their cultural identity and the societal pressures they face. Gustad’s Parsi heritage and his relationships with the Catholic and Muslim neighbors exemplify the multiculturalism of Mumbai. Dilnavaz’s pragmatic approach to religion contrasts with the devout beliefs of her mother-in-law, creating tension and conflict within the family.

The character analysis provides insight into the heart of “Family Matters.” Rohinton Mistry creates a world that is both familiar and foreign, with characters that are relatable and engaging. Through their struggles and triumphs, we are shown the power of familial bonds and the human spirit.

Character Analysis

Setting and Atmosphere

One of the standout features of “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry is the rich setting and evocative atmosphere that permeates the audiobook. Mistry vividly describes the bustling streets of Mumbai, India, where the story takes place, immersing the listener in a world of colorful characters and vibrant culture. The sounds of traffic and street vendors mingle with the characters’ conversations, creating a sensory experience that feels authentic and immersive.

Moreover, Mistry’s attention to detail in describing the physical spaces where the characters live, work, and interact adds depth and complexity to the story. From the crumbling family home where most of the action takes place to the bustling marketplace where the characters shop and socialize, every location feels vividly realized.

The atmosphere of “Family Matters” is melancholic and reflective, capturing the bittersweet emotions of the characters as they grapple with issues of aging, mortality, and family ties. The audiobook balances moments of humor and warmth with more serious themes, creating a nuanced and emotionally resonant narrative.

Themes Explored

“Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry explores several major themes that are relevant and relatable to contemporary society. The audiobook delves into the complexities of family dynamics, the challenges of aging, the search for cultural identity, and the impact of social change.

Through the lens of the various characters and their experiences, Mistry portrays the intricate relationships within a family and how personal choices and actions can affect not only individual lives but the entire family unit.

The theme of aging is also prominent in “Family Matters,” as the audiobook explores the challenges of growing old and the impact it has on one’s relationships with family and society as a whole.

Mistry also explores the concept of cultural identity and its role in shaping individual experiences. The audiobook highlights the struggles of immigrants in finding a sense of belonging and the conflicts that arise when they try to reconcile their cultural background with their current environment.

Lastly, “Family Matters” touches on the theme of social change, portraying the impact of political and societal changes on individual lives and relationships within a family.

Themes Description
Family Dynamics The complexities of relationships within a family and the impact of personal choices and actions.
Aging The challenges and impact of growing old on relationships with family and society.
Cultural Identity The struggles of immigrants in finding a sense of belonging and conflicts in reconciling cultural background with current environment.
Social Change The impact of political and societal changes on individual lives and relationships within a family.

Narrative Style

The narrative style of “Family Matters” is skillfully crafted by Rohinton Mistry, providing a rich and engaging listening experience. Throughout the audiobook, Mistry employs a variety of storytelling techniques, including multiple perspectives and vivid descriptions, to convey the complexity of the story and its characters.

The use of multiple perspectives allows the listener to view events and emotions from different angles, providing a nuanced and multi-layered narrative. The inner thoughts and motivations of the characters are revealed through their perspectives, making them more relatable and human. Mistry also integrates humor and irony into the narration, providing a balance to the serious and somber tone of the audiobook.

The detailed descriptions and vivid imagery further enhance the listening experience, immersing the listener in the setting and atmosphere of the story. Mistry’s prose is evocative and poetic, painting a vivid picture of the characters and their surroundings. The lyrical quality of the narration adds another layer of depth to the story, making it all the more engaging.

Overall, the narrative style of “Family Matters” is a testament to Rohinton Mistry’s skills as a storyteller. The use of multiple perspectives, vivid descriptions, and poetic prose combine to create a rich and immersive listening experience.

Audiobook Performance

When it comes to audiobook performance, “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry delivers a captivating and engaging listening experience. The narration by Martin Jarvis is flawless, with nuanced and authentic character portrayals that add depth and interest to the story.

The pacing of the audiobook is well-crafted, with a careful balance between the slower, more introspective moments, and the faster-paced, action-packed scenes. This ensures that the listener remains engaged throughout the entire audiobook, without feeling bored or overwhelmed.

The overall production quality is exceptional, with high-quality sound and audio engineering that enhances the listening experience. From the music to the sound effects, every aspect of the audiobook is well thought out and contributes to the enjoyment of the listener.

Overall, the audiobook performance of “Family Matters” is top-notch, making it a highly recommended choice for anyone looking for a well-produced and engaging audiobook experience.

Critical Reception

Since its publication, “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry has garnered critical acclaim and positive reviews from readers and literary experts alike. The audiobook version of the novel has also received high praise for its narration and production quality.

According to a review by Publishers Weekly, “Mistry proves once again his mastery of emotionally complex family dramas,” while Kirkus Reviews calls it a “finely wrought portrait of family life in all its complications and contradictions.”

Readers have also expressed their admiration for the novel, with many commending Mistry’s storytelling abilities and his poignant portrayal of familial relationships. On Goodreads, “Family Matters” has an overall rating of 4.18 out of 5 stars, with many reviewers noting its thought-provoking themes and relatable characters.

Overall, the critical reception of “Family Matters” has been overwhelmingly positive, cementing its place as a compelling and well-crafted audiobook deserving of recognition and praise.

Personal Recommendation

After listening to “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry, we highly recommend this audiobook. Mistry’s masterful storytelling and complex character development make this a standout work in the world of literature and audiobooks.

For those who enjoy family sagas and stories that delve into the human psyche, “Family Matters” is a must-listen. The portrayal of the family dynamics and the exploration of themes such as cultural identity and aging offer a thought-provoking and emotionally rich listening experience.

Furthermore, the audiobook performance by Martin Jarvis is exceptional, drawing the listener into the story with his nuanced and engaging voice acting.

Overall, “Family Matters” is a powerful and captivating story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished listening.


Overall, “Family Matters” by Rohinton Mistry is an emotionally charged and thought-provoking audiobook that explores the complexities of family, cultural identity, and aging. The audiobook performance is exceptional, with the narrator expertly conveying the nuances of the story.

Mistry’s writing style is engaging and descriptive, creating a vivid and immersive listening experience. The story itself is well-constructed and multi-layered, with a cast of well-developed characters who evolve throughout the narrative.

The themes explored in “Family Matters” are relevant and timeless, making the audiobook a compelling and insightful reflection of contemporary society. Our personal recommendation is that this audiobook is a must-listen for those who enjoy literary fiction and family dramas.

In conclusion, “Family Matters” is a highly recommended audiobook and one that will not disappoint those who give it a chance.

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