James's Reviews > A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
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's review
May 22, 11

bookshelves: u-of-chicago, historical-fiction, indian-lit
Read from March 22 to May 22, 2011

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 continuing cultural influence of England, from the impact of literary awards to the reading habits of several of the characters. Moreover the novel successfully includes all aspects of Indian life and nationality from the caste system to religious differences between Hindus and Muslims to the impact of changes in business and government life on the four families at the center of the novel. Seth's novel is a tour de force that demonstrates his skill in writing, knowledge of India, and his ability to marry the charms of a classical romance novel within the broad reach of a realistic family and nationalistic saga. Without disclosing the plot details I can only assure the reader that it is worth all 1400 plus pages. The thematic development of the clash between Hindu and Muslim cultures is particularly well portrayed with the impact of historical events on the national level mirrored by dramatic events among the main families whose lives fill the plot and subplots of the novel. It is rare that such a long book is both an entertaining read and an intellectually satisfying challenge. Vikram Seth has succeeded in both areas.
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Reading Progress

04/27/2011 page 700
47.0% "I have just reached page 700 in this very long novel and I am (almost) half way through the book. A novel of India set in the early 1950s just after the partition, 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 sect"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Lynne King Well I love the sound of this book James. Definitely to read this year! Rather large...


message 2: by Lynne (last edited Mar 14, 2014 08:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynne King James, I'm over half way through this book and I love it. I take the book everywhere with me...It's rather large too.


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