Babette's Reviews > A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
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Nov 12, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read in November, 2012

I am not sure how this book got added to my reading list, but it was a good thing. The novel (over 1300 pages!) is set in India in the early 1950s. The center of the story Lata, and her experiences and decisions as her mother searches for a suitable boy for her to marry. Around her the author weaves the story of a newly independent country, one that has already dealt with the partition of Pakistan, and the social and political challenges its citizens face. These are reflected through the personal events members of Lata's and three other related families experience over the course of a year.
I enjoyed this book, not just for the story of Lata and the dilemmas she faces, but for the insight into Indian culture and politics. I stopped looking up every word for types of clothing, food, musical instruments and other items the author mentions that I was unfamiliar with and just let myself enjoy the characters, the setting and the web of events and situations that is created within this complex society.
Seth writes with compassion and humor, and enjoys interspersing poetry throughout the book. I wonder how much the culture has actually changed from the way it was sixty years ago.
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