Gustad Noble is an upright bank clerk whose life is altered by events that he doesn’t quite comprehend: his daughter suffers from an incessant diarrhoea which no one can explain; his son wins a prestigious IIT scholarship which he forgoes in favour of a regular college degree; and his best friend Major Bilimoria suddenly disappears one night.
The Major, who works for Indira Gandhi's secret police, later resurfaces and seeks his help in connection with an undercover operation which Noble doesn’t refuse because of their old ties. His problem begins when he soon finds a large sum of money deposited by the Major under a fictitious account in the bank where he works.
Set at the time of India's war with Pakistan over Bangladesh, Such a Long Journey dragged the prize-winning author Rohinton Mistry into a controversy after it was removed from a university reading list. It was criticised for being less than flattering about Indira Gandhi and Bal Thackeray.
But in spite of the ban, the novel garnered favourable reviews for its unusual plot, which brilliantly stitches the political to the personal, with the national conflict affecting the everyday life of Gustad’s family.
Such a Long Journey was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Governor General’s Award for fiction, beating out Margaret Atwood. In 1998, it was adapted into a film which also won several awards.
Published in 1991.