A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy Alternate Cover edition for ISBN ISBN Set in post independence India the novel follows for eighteen months or so four linked families in Calcutta the province of Purv

  • Title: A Suitable Boy
  • Author: Vikram Seth
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 442
  • Format: Paperback
  • A Suitable Boy

    Alternate Cover edition for ISBN 10 0140230335 ISBN 13 978 0140230338 Set in post independence India, the novel follows for eighteen months or so four linked families in Calcutta, the province of Purva Pradesh and its capital Brahmpur, and the cities Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow trawled by the heroine s mother in her search for a suitable boy But the greatness of the novelAlternate Cover edition for ISBN 10 0140230335 ISBN 13 978 0140230338 Set in post independence India, the novel follows for eighteen months or so four linked families in Calcutta, the province of Purva Pradesh and its capital Brahmpur, and the cities Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow trawled by the heroine s mother in her search for a suitable boy But the greatness of the novel, its unassailable truthfulness, owes less to research than to imagination, an instinctive knowledge of the human heart with all its varieties of kindness and cruelty, its capacity for hurt As with all the best books, one feels only dismay when the pages on the right of the tome start thinning out The Observer So vast and so amicably peopled, A Suitable Boy is a long, sweet, sleepless pilgrimage to life Rich and epical, Suitable Boy is nonetheless strikingly unpretentious In 1,400 pages the novel covers India like a sun, warming a whole country in its historical rays It is almost impossible to imagine an unswayed reader The Guardian Not merely one of the longest novels in English it may also prove to be the most fecund as well as the most prodigious work of the latter half of this century The Times A phenomenon, a prodigy, a marvel of 19th century storytelling in the language of today It is hard to believe that Seth is only one man He writes with the omniscience and authority of a large, orderly committee of experts on Indian politics, law, medicine, crowd psychology, urban and rural social customs, dress, cuisine, horticulture, funerary rites, cricket and even the technicalities of shoe manufacture Evening Standard Puts a subcontinent between hard covers hundreds of people stream into view and are illuminated by the brilliant, warm lucidity of Vikram Seth s regard Conceived on the grand scale of the great 19th century novels War and Peace, Middlemarch A Suitable Boy grows to match them in its breadth and depth A massive and magnificent book The Sunday Times We should be grateful for this panoramic sweep which revives in our memory a period when a whole way of life came to an end Seth s sure touch is really quite incredible, his characters are consistent from beginning to end The Hindu A quietly monumental novel Seth has given us that unlikeliest of hybrids, a modest tour de force Times Literary Supplement

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    One thought on “A Suitable Boy

    1. Paul Bryant

      After about page 200 I realised this was like eating Turkish Delight morning noon and night and my spiritual teeth were beginning to dissolve under a tide of sickliness which didn't ever let up. All these characters are so unbearably cute, even the less-nice ones. If post-independent India was crossed with Bambi, it would be Vikram Seth's endless gurgling prose. So I stopped reading and drove several three inch nails into my head, and I've been all right since then.

    2. Lynne King

      This is a magnificent saga, which left me breathless and awaiting the next word, set in India at the beginning of the fifties."Suitable Boy" by Vikram Seth's “epic love story set in India. Funny and tragic, with engaging, brilliantly observed characters, it is as close as you can get to Dickens for the twentieth century. The story unfolds through four middle class families - the Mehras, Kappoors, Khans and Chatterjis. Lata Mehra, a university student, is under pressure from her mother to get m [...]

    3. Whitaker

      I know some GR’ers didn’t really cotton on to the style of this book. And maybe it was because I read this while on vacation in India itself, but wow! Just W.O.W! It’s a fucking long book—1,500 pages. And every single page was worth the time I spent on it and more. If Midnight’s Children is India’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, then A Suitable Boy must be its War and Peace. It’s got the same melding of personal lives seen in amidst great national events. Instead of the romance of [...]

    4. Sim

      *Spoiler alert*I finally finished reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. For some reason, I used to avoid picking it up and kept putting it off. I suppose it was mainly the size (it’s one thick book - approximately 1500 pages!) but I also think it had to do with this misconception I had that it would be a tough read, that Seth’s writing would be pompous and saturated with flowery descriptions of rivers winding through the green and yellow village of GraamNagar. Imagine my surprise when I fin [...]

    5. Arah-Lynda

      I finished Vikram Seth’s tome A Suitable Boy this Sunday morning while enjoying my coffee and a white chocolate, coconut Christmas cookie that my daughter had baked just last night. All right, all right, I confess it was actually two white chocolate, coconut Christmas cookies. But who can blame me really. They were so good. Not too sweet, she had gone ahead and reduced the suggested amount of sugar, resulting in a perfect blend of sweet with just a hint of salt and a nice moist and chewy textu [...]

    6. Edward

      A Suitable Boy describes a year in the life of the fledgling Indian democracy, indirectly told through the experiences of four connected families and a litany of supporting characters, who, due to the diversity of their occupations and social positions, are able to explore various facets – political, legal, social, cultural, religious, artistic – of the India of this period, and the clash of its opposing cultural forces: traditional versus modern values, religion versus secularism, Hinduism [...]

    7. Tea Jovanović

      Remek-delo Vikrama Seta! MUST READ Odličan prevod Brane Radević Još jedna indijska priča koja je postala savremeni klasik

    8. Megan Baxter

      I was never entirely sure who belonged to what family in this book, but it never really bothered me. I mean, after we switched back to a different group of characters, I was able to reconstruct who they were related to fairly easily, but I never could hold the genealogies in my mind.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

    9. Rajat Ubhaykar

      I don't even know where to begin gushing about this one, so panoramic is its scope and so delightful its literary charms. Vikram Seth's 800,000 word magnum opus is lengthier than War and Peace and more compulsively readable than a well-paced soap opera. It is an event in one's life. I call it a soap opera, because fundamentally, the plot is a family drama, revolving around the wooers of its principal character, Lata Mehra. Set in the early 1950s and written with a forceful simplicity akin to R K [...]

    10. Sarah

      Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy is one of the best books I've ever read in my entire life. It's a long book. But it is very engaging; I managed to read it in one stretch, with a break to sleep, while I awaited the movers to take me and my belongings across the country. To my chagrin I had completed it before my flight, and when it finished I didn't want the book to be over, I wanted to go back and re-read it from the beginning. It is one of the best books about life in India I've ever read, it is t [...]

    11. Danielle Franco-Malone

      This is one of my five all time favorite books (along with the Handmaid's Tale, On Beauty, the Red Tent, & Corelli's Mandolin). It is a patch work story of many characters' lives; by the end of the story, you see how they all intersect. This was one of those books where when I finished the book I was completely invested in each of the character's life. The story is set in post-independence India and explores a number of social/political issues of the time (i.e. land reform, muslim-hindu rela [...]

    12. Sue

      A Suitable Boy takes place over the course of a year in an India which is adjusting not only to independence but to partition. Through the stories of some of the major families of Brahmpur, we observe and participate in not only the day to day activities of individuals but the workings of government, developing industry--some quite primitive, the existence of caste--though outlawed, religious hatred, and the search for love and marriage. There are beauty and violence, squalor and humor, festival [...]

    13. Alex

      Dynasty in India is what this book really is, for all its allusions to Victorian novels. But sure, yes, it's longer than War & Peace, ensuring its place on the Books Your Friends Didn't Finish list:The Hawking Index according to me- Brief History of Time- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell- Suitable Boy- Every book published before 1940- The BibleAnd it shares with War & Peace a panoramic, many-charactered view of an entire society, against the backdrop of real events - here, the 1951 ab [...]

    14. Margitte

      The book blurb says it all. I will only add my comments.While reading this monumental novel of 1535 pages, I was wondering how much of the original offering was edited out to end up with this number of pages as the final result! I also wondered, while ploughing through it, how much of the existing book can be cut out and still leave the essential core. Probably half of it. Compared to Barbara Kingsolver and Yung Chang, Vikram Seth needed twice as much pages to tell similar stories as these two a [...]

    15. Rebecca

      By the time I got to the end, I wanted to throw this book across the room, but by then I was exhausted. The book was too heavy to lift and heave properly, so I slapped the paperback covers with as much derision as I could manage.This is the longest book I’ve ever read. It’s the world’s 17th longest novel. Longer than Infinite Jest. Longer than War and Peace.You’d think they’d give me some sort of prize for reading all that. But what do I get instead? (view spoiler)[I get THAT ending? S [...]

    16. El

      For Thanksgiving 2010 I spent the day finishing up Infinite Jest. For a while there I thought maybe I'd always try to finish up some sort of behemoth on Thanksgiving day, since the day to me means staying in my jammies and watching The Godfather on TV while I read. The food involved can easily be made while reading or the Boyfriend steps up and makes the yummies. But then last year I went with a a shorter book choice which I was able to read all on Thanksgiving. Boy, was that a mistake.But then [...]

    17. Ted

      Have to remove this one. I know I liked it, but at over 1300 pages, and occupying almost 2 inches of shelf space, it must go.I have to admit I remember little about the novel, except enjoying the story very much when I read it. (Given that, it could be argued that a 3 rating would make more sense? But no.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Previous review: Song of SolomonRandom review: Inventing the Middle AgesNext review: The Sweet Forever George PelecanosPrevious library review: The God of [...]

    18. James

      This is a novel of India set in the early 1950s just after the partition, Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy provides a window into the culture and history of India at that juncture in its history through a romance about a young girl, Lata, whose mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, is searching for a "suitable boy" for her to marry. The novel's opening section succeeded in immediately arresting my attention. Some of the most notable aspects of the novel include the subtle ways that the author suggests the contin [...]

    19. Faroukh Naseem

      I have always been impressed and awed by writers mainly because of the research and effort they put in to write the perfect tale and their imagination in bringing together characters and the details that govern each characters featuresVikram Seth has to be applauded for his effort (which seems to be such a petty word) when we talk about this Herculean book!**Extremely Mild Spoilers**The Basic plot is about Mrs. Rupa Mehra wanting to find a Suitable Boy for her youngest daughter, Lata but the sto [...]

    20. Shriya

      A fact : I never ever understood how postpartum depression works or why women suffer from it. Yet another fact:Having finishedA Suitable Boy arouses similar feelings in a reader as postpartum depression in a new Mum.Why? Well, by the you finish reading one of the longest English novels ever written and the longest English Novel written by an Indian and that Indian is Vikram Seth, you're kind of used to the story, the characters, the way their life goes on. So, when you turn the last page of some [...]

    21. Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

      This is like a buffet of Indian food. Everything seems to be here, in this monster of a book, all 1349 pages and 3 kilos of it: law, politics, business, history, tradition, superstitions, deities, romance, suspense, tragedy, humor, festivals, marriages, infidelities, friendship, betrayal, family, deaths, births, suicide,court trials, land reform, poetry, the Chatterji's couplets, amusing characters, etc. Even my mother is here (I mean, a character who, in some ways, resembles my mother). There's [...]

    22. Anoop Pai B

      Game, set, match Cannot control my tears (not literal ones) from streaming down on my dust covered face and leaving a track as it slides down Reading this book felt like lifting the Wimbledon trophy, the most coveted prize in tennis. Ever single person who turns a professional, wants to win nothing more, than Wimbledon, at least once. Else there is no inner peace. I too, was like a tennis player, in the sense that ever since I picked up a novel, ever since I became an "avid" reader, Suitable Boy [...]

    23. Bramha Raju

      I admit without a semblance of ignominy that my convent bred education never allowed me to enjoy my own clan- Indian authors. But recently, as my brother would say, I have developed a taste for it. When this book was released and made such a mayhem in the readers world, the size of the book and the language put me off. It has been sitting on my shelf and quietly staring at me until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I finally read it and now at 37 years old and 13 years plus married life, I thor [...]

    24. مروان البلوشي

      تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : ٢٠١٤تشعر وكأنك تقرأ تولستوي وتشارلز ديكنز ولكن بلسان وروح هندية. هذه الرواية الضخمة (١٤٠٠ صفحة) تسجل كل ما حصل في المجتمع الهندي والدولة الهندية منذ الاستقلال، عمل يجمع بين أطياف أدبية عديدة ولا يمل أبدا رغم ضخامته

    25. Quirine

      I have an in-built horror of books that stray on longer than 300 pages. Anything longer and I always find the story sagging somewhere towards the middle and losing me by the end. Except with A Suitable Boy. It's over 1000 (tightly written) pages and I only wish it could have gone on and on. This sprawling saga takes you all over India in the 50s, into the lives of a dozen or so interconnected characters. And yet Seth masterfully manages to keep each story bubbling on the stove with delicious res [...]

    26. Judy

      I'm feeling this great sense of accomplishment right now after finishing this gargantuan book this morning. The crazy thing is that I almost wish it wasn't done. I want to know so many things about the characters - (view spoiler)[ did Varun get it together now that he finally made it through his civil service exams, did anything come of him and Kalpana? Is Malati wedging in between that relationship? So many unanswered questions! (sigh) (hide spoiler)] However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, co [...]

    27. Varsha

      I had been waiting for over two years to read this book and I only managed to find a copy now. Vikram Seth is par excellence in the way that he sketches his characters- each character is deep, layered and volatile in his/her unique way. He manages, in his 1400 pages, to capture every single human emotion possible. Another feather in the author's cap is the mind-boggling level of research undertaken- while dealing with larger than life erstwhile political and national leaders, one has to be caref [...]

    28. Neha

      A Suitable boy is a very sutiable book for both boys & girls When I borrowed this book from the library I found it surprisingly huge and scary, everyone who saw me carrying it was equally astounded. I started having my doubts that what if the book becomes a lousy read and I end up wasting my time or leave it half read but the book from Page 1 had a smooth pace & never for once lost my interest. SO when Vikram Seth says in his opening lines 'Buy me before good sense insists,You’ll strai [...]

    29. Richard Moss

      Weighing in at almost 1,500 pages, this is one of those novels that requires commitment, even if it does come with a formidable reputation.But the time I spent reading A Suitable Boy was repaid in spades as its narrative drive and fantastic characterisation soon made me forget how many pages are still ahead!The novel's central conceit could be straight out of Austen as Lata she considers the merits and demerits of a series of suitors in the search for that suitable boy.But the book also has hint [...]

    30. Nicola

      This was my third attempt at reading this monster. On two previous occasions I had made it about halfway through it and then stopped for reasons that I no longer recall. It wasn't because I wasn't enjoying it, because that I do know that I was. I think it might simply have been that despite its excellence this was a book that was very easy to put down. There are a lot of characters and their lives just tend to move along the great river of life in a fairly steady and semi predictable way so if y [...]

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