Asif 's Reviews > A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
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's review
Apr 17, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: women-of-the-night, favourites, poetry, india

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 none of the characters were un-interesting. I was particularly enthralled by the characters of Saeeda Bai, the courtesan, and Firoz and Maan as well as the Ustad of classical music. This was what was so great about the book. It seemed as if all of India was here, in front of me as I read this book. Princes, businessmen, academics, paupers, villagers, tanners, untouchables, priests, mullahs, imams, Urdu, Hindi, English...the wonderful scents and colours painted a great and detailed canvas of Indian life. Seth's erudition too becomes clear from his excellent rendition of the ghazals of Ghalib and Mir into English during, perhaps, my favourite section of the book which was the musical performance given by Saeeda Bai in Mahesh Kapoor's house. Simply wonderful! (Of course a book of this length must have passages of tedium and I didn't particularly enjoy the descriptions of tanning and shoemaking which went on for pages and pages and was rather disappointed by Lata's eventual choice of paramour but no book is without flaw and in a work of such size perhaps these can be overlooked!)

I need to re-read this!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Asif Karen, trust me--it is so worth the effort! If you don't like it...:-)

TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez I think this book will stay with me forever. It's become my all time favorite. I wish I could visit the characters.

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