A Suitable Boy
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A Suitable Boy (A Suitable Boy #1)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  25,755 ratings  ·  1,267 reviews
Vikram Seth's novel is at its core a love story, the tale of Lata - and her mother's attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. Set in post-Independence India and involving the lives of four large families and those who orbit them, it is also a vast panoramic exploration of a whole continent at a crucial hour as a sixth of...more
Paperback, 1474 pages
Published March 1st 1994 by Phoenix Paperbacks (first published 1993)
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Paul
Nov 23, 2012 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an insatiable interest in every possible detail about every possible person
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.
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 mar...more
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 Natasha and Pi...more
Sim
Dec 04, 2013 Sim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
Sarah
Jun 18, 2007 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who reads
Shelves: foreverbooks
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 counry. 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 th...more
Sue
Mar 23, 2014 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in India and historical fiction
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...more
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...more
Tea Jovanović
Remek-delo Vikrama Seta! MUST READ... Odličan prevod Brane Radević... Još jedna indijska priča koja je postala savremeni klasik...
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...more
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...more
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...more
Judy
May 06, 2014 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: around the world readers
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) However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, co...more
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...more
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...more
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 thorou...more
Prashant R
I read this book, almost two decades ago, when it first released in 1991. I had just appeared for my 12th grade exams and was hungrily soaking up books, through my vacations. I borrowed it from my neighborhood "circulating" library in Bombay, for a princely sum of Rs 50/- (a single US $). This was also the first book by an Indian author i had read.The scope, the breadth and the range of characters, in this book, are breathtaking. I could associate with some of the characters and certainly the mi...more
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 s...more
Sheila
How do I review this book? It is long...1,350 pages long...which for this book is TOO long.
It is heavy...as in 4 1/2 pounds heavy...and not available in an e-book version.
I built up my forearm muscles and strained my wrists reading all 1,350 pages of this 4 1/2 pound monstrosity.

As to the contents of the book...did I mention it is TOO long. It was interesting, yes, but too detailed for its own good. The novel covers a year in the life of four familes in India in the 1950's. The story of Lata an...more
Joy Stephenson
This is a story about relationships – romantic, among families, between friends, in political groups, between religious faiths and sectors of society (including castes). It deals with the conflict between personal freedom / self-fulfilment and duty / responsibility towards others. It is a long and complex novel, in which the stories of the different groups of characters are skilfully plaited together to make a multi-faceted tale. One of the strengths of the book is that each time we return to a...more
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sadaf
I love this book. If I had to choose my favourite book of all times, perhaps this one would win it.
I don't know what exactly is the reason for loving it so. Maybe its because my life situations are similar to the protagonist Lata in the book. Or because of the tender yet moving way in which the book is written. Or the proper timing of humour in the book, or the interesting plot. Maybe its all of that together.
The book begins with Lata at her sister Savita's wedding, where we come to know of La...more
Denise
I absolutely loved this book, every single delicious word and page of it! I didn't want it to end.

It is an amazing saga of four families, and a multitude of other characters, that takes place in India in 1951-52. The characters are all so authentic and memorable that I felt as though I would recognize them on the street by the story's end. I lost count of how many times they made me laugh, as well as shed a few tears. And the writing is simply gorgeous, informative, romantic and poetic.

The crux...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book was such a treat, I am sorry to be finished with it. Yes, it’s longer than War and Peace, but that doesn’t mean it’s drawn-out or dull; it’s simply that the book presents a sprawling tapestry of life in India in the 1950’s, starring several families and with many intersecting plots and subplots. Individual chapters are actually quite short, and something new is always happening. (For that matter, the same can be said for War and Peace – these mammoth novels aren’t as scary as they seem...more
Shriya
A fact : I never ever understood how postpartum depression works or why women suffer from it.

Yet another fact: Having finished A 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 pa...more
Chris
Aug 23, 2010 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Rita
There is something about train rides. Maybe it's because I HATE flying, maybe it's the beautiful places outside the window, who knows? There is something about riding trains. During my last train ride, I was seated next to a woman who loved to read, so course we began to trade you should read this lists.

And there is nothing better than that.

This was one of the books she recommended. I saw it at a used bookstore in the three volume edition (which was cheaper than the one volume edition), and con...more
Asif
I read this book a long time ago but it has always stayed with me. It is so massive that it takes a lot of commitment to complete but it is so brilliantly written with so many characters to love (or hate!) that it really is easy to get lost in its' world.

This is certainly one of the best books I have read and is an astonishing achievement! I found I could empathise more with the Muslim characters in the book than with some of the others but Vikram Seth's superbly detailed accounts ensured that n...more
Joyce Lagow
A massive (1474 pages), quiet novel that superficially is something of an Indian novel of manners much in the style of the 19th century English novelists, but which also is a history of India at a critical time� the early 1950s� as experienced by the members of four middle class families and a host of characters from others.[return][return]The central thread of the novel is the search for a husband� � a suitable boy� for Lata Mehra, the younger daughter of Mrs. Rupra Mehra, a widow who lives in...more
Sam
A Suitable Boy is the inter-connected tale of four families in post-independence India. Although the central story is Mrs Rupa Mehra's quest to find a suitable husband for her daughter Lata, Seth's novel is more than that and is best described as a panoramic of Indian society. From racial tension to religious festivals to adultery, ambition and politics, A Suitable Boy is an epic in every sense of the word. The many individual stories are told alongside each other in nineteen parts and cover the...more
Ellie Ray
Jun 14, 2007 Ellie Ray rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Indian literature and society, people with strong wrists and long plane flights
This book combines Jane Austen's sensitivity to the nuances of social interaction and compelling characters with a Tolstoyesque interest in every social, political, economic and religious detail pertaining to the greater world of the plot. Lata, the main character, is a college student in Brahmpur in the 1950s whose mother is determined to marry her off to some nice middle-class boy (hence the title), but the 1400+ novel (one of the longest ever published in English) often ignores her for chapte...more
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Vikram Seth is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children's writer, biographer and memoirist.

During the course of his doctorate studies at Stanford, he did his field work in China and translated Hindi and Chinese poetry into English. He returned to Delhi via Xinjiang and Tibet which led to a travel narrative From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983) which won...more
More about Vikram Seth...
An Equal Music The Golden Gate Two Lives From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet Beastly Tales from Here and There

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“God save us from people who mean well.” 1530 likes
“But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they're bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they're good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.” 139 likes
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