Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Suitable Boy” as Want to Read:
A Suitable Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Suitable Boy (A Suitable Boy #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  33,627 Ratings  ·  1,613 Reviews
Set in post-colonial India in the early 1950s, this culturally rich and colorfully textured family saga is an epic novel destined to become a literary classic."Surrender to this strange, beguiling world and be swept away on the wings of story....It is difficult to imagine that many contemporary writers could give us a novel that provides so much deep satisfaction." ...more
Paperback, 1474 pages
Published April 13th 1994 by Harper Perennial (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Suitable Boy, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Manish Malik
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paul Bryant
Nov 23, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  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
Arah-Lynda
Dec 26, 2015 Arah-Lynda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-said
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 texture ...more
Sim
Dec 04, 2013 Sim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Sarah
Jun 18, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  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 ...more
Tea Jovanović
Remek-delo Vikrama Seta! MUST READ... Odličan prevod Brane Radević... Još jedna indijska priča koja je postala savremeni klasik...
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
...more
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
Sue
Mar 23, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  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, ...more
Alex
Jan 07, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
- Brief History of Time
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
- Suitable Boy
- Every book published before 1940
- The Bible

And it shares with War & Peace a panoramic, many-charactered view of an entire society, against the backdrop of real events - here, the 1951 abolition of the f
...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
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
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
Faroukh Naseem
Mar 22, 2016 Faroukh Naseem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 features...

Vikram 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
...more
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)
...more
مروان البلوشي
تاريخ القراءة الأصلي :

تشعر وكأنك تقرأ تولستوي وتشارلز ديكنز ولكن بلسان وروح هندية. هذه الرواية الضخمة ( صفحة) تسجل كل ما حصل في المجتمع الهندي والدولة الهندية منذ الاستقلال، عمل يجمع بين أطياف أدبية عديدة ولا يمل أبدا رغم ضخامته..
...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
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
Quirine
Jul 01, 2008 Quirine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Bramha Raju
Mar 04, 2013 Bramha Raju rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...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
Judy
May 06, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
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
Varsha
Jul 02, 2016 Varsha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Prashant R
Feb 26, 2009 Prashant R rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Neha
Oct 28, 2014 Neha rated it really liked it
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
Marieke
Dec 17, 2012 Marieke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, india, 2012
I miss this book already. i'm having trouble deciding what to read with my morning coffee. (i might be back to write a real review)
Kate Howe
?!?!? I have to think and take this one in before I even consider the possibility of rating a 1500 pg book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
North Liberty Rea...: * A Suitable Boy 2014 Group Read 55 41 Sep 24, 2015 08:41AM  
  • Family Matters
  • Sacred Games
  • English, August: An Indian Story
  • The Romantics
  • Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)
  • The Great Indian Novel
  • A Golden Age
  • Animal's People
  • The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
  • The Glass Palace
  • The In-Between World of Vikram Lall
  • Clear Light of Day
  • A River Sutra
  • Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
  • What the Body Remembers
  • Cold Comfort Farm
  • The Day of the Scorpion
  • The Siege of Krishnapur
28345
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...

Other Books in the Series

A Suitable Boy (2 books)
  • A Suitable Girl (A Suitable Boy, #2)

Share This Book



“God save us from people who mean well.” 1669 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.” 188 likes
More quotes…