I just finished The God of Small Things, which like A Fine Balance, is another well-written but horribly depressing novel about life in India.
The God of Small Things won the 1997 Man Booker Prize. The Booker Prize is given to the best original full-length novel written in English by a citizen of either the British Commonwealth or Ireland. I think The God of Small Things won because the British are still atoning for colonial occupation of India. Self-flagellation with a book like this is a step on the collective road to redemption.
I'm not even going to get into what it's about--it depresses me even to think about it. Suffice to say that I stayed up late Saturday night to finish The God of Small Things so I wouldn't have to read it for even one more day.
Now, does anyone have a good vampire novel recommendation?