Chris's Reviews > A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
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Oct 02, 13

bookshelves: 2010-reads, best-of-2010
Read in March, 2010

** spoiler alert ** ATTENTION: SMALL SPOILERS AT THE END!

This book literally had it all: love, intrigue, death, birth, lust, suspense, comedy, sibling rivalry, politics, religion, history, all with an overly dramatic mom. While I didn't give this five stars because I loved the book, I gave it five stars because of its complexity. This wasn't just a story, I was transferred to India circa 1951. It totally envelopes you in the story. While the backbone is Lata's quest for "a suitable boy" you become a member of the four families. It took me quite some time to finally get the families' names straight, who was with which family and married to whom, as there were some marriages that crossed between them. Even on the morning I finished this, I still paged back to the family trees.

There were so many different stories going on at the same time, but Seth smartly sprinkled them throughout the book. If you get bored, have no fear, you'll move on to something else soon enough. Each "chapter" or couplet as he had, usually had two stories that he seamlessly wove together, so much so it was a few pages in before I realized we had moved on to another part of the story.

His writing? Eh, was a bit disappointed. I adored "An Equal Music," and part of that was his lyrical writing. Heck, I even picked up the violin for about a year because I was so intrigued about the music quartet! This almost felt like it was translated to me, although I know it wasn't. Was stilted in parts, and not one of a finessed writer, although this may have been one of his first books.

The problem of having a book this long is it's like time, you start to forget what happened in the beginning. I felt that way halfway through, I had to keep reminding myself of certain things that happened to some of the characters.

To end, I'll put in two small spoilers. I was SO disappointed with the boy Lata marries. How I wanted her to end up with Kabir. Ah, unrequited love, and I'm always looking for that happy ending. Also, I felt that Vikram Seth was the poet, Amit=. There were a couple of things that lead me to think that.

A couple of friends asked me the other day should they read it. I wouldn't recommend a 1,000-plus page book, as something this long is truly an investment, even for someone who reads a lot. Do I think it was worth it? Whenever I am involved in a book, I always wonder what is happening with the characters when I close the cover, and I know I will wonder about these four families. Is Lata happy in her marriage? How is Maan doing? Is Parvati's baby born? I spent the past two months with these people, and for the most part, I liked them all. I'm not jumping up and down for joy (well, maybe because I can read something else!) that this book was so incredible, it was too complex and detailed for me to do that. But yes, it was worth it.
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Reading Progress

01/31/2010 page 73
4.95% "Starting Part 2..."
02/05/2010 page 194
13.16% "Moving right along, Part 4..."
02/12/2010 page 311
21.1% "I'm beginning to think I'm nuts." 4 comments
02/21/2010 page 375
25.44% "After a week away, I'm missing my four Indian families! Back at it!"
02/25/2010 page 547
37.11% "It's amazing how much you can read when you're snowbound!" 1 comment
03/04/2010 page 677
45.93% "My copy has 1,349 pages, so I'm two pages past the halfway mark! Woot!" 3 comments
03/09/2010 page 878
59.57% "I read that Seth has a sequel called "A Suitable Girl," to be released in 2013. I kid you not!"
03/20/2010 page 1172
79.51% "Home stretch! 177 more pages! I'm already starting to feel the pangs of withdrawal! :-(" 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Julie Ahhh, one of my all-time favorites! I hope you enjoy this. I'll see your knitting projects and raise you two scrapbooks, guitar lessons and a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of wine corks that matches- to our despair- the varying shades of our dining room table. I'm managing 3 pieces a day. :D


Chris :-))

Julie, if you can believe it, I remember way back when you read this on the CLBB and how much you loved it and it's been on my list ever since! I loved his book, "An Equal Music," and since he is also a poet, I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Or, let's put it this way, anything can be better than last (this?) winter's read, "An American Tragedy," a tragedy in that I actually finished reading it and case in point of when the movie was far better than the book! :-))

And I think you've got me beat with that jigsaw puzzle, holy moly! ;-) Good luck!


message 3: by Sally (new)

Sally Bushnell Hi Chris
I tried to read Suitable Boy but struggled with the names and keeping up with who was who so I gave it to my sister and she loved it.


Chris Sally wrote: "Hi Chris
I tried to read Suitable Boy but struggled with the names and keeping up with who was who so I gave it to my sister and she loved it."


That happened to me too. About 300-400 pages in, I *finally* got it. But, I'm 1,000 pages plus, and still going back to the family trees! :-))


message 5: by Sally (new)

Sally Bushnell Hi Chris
Well done you. My sister said it was hard and she is an avid reader!!!
Do you know there is a sequel out now and \i think it's called A Suitable A Girl.


Chris Sally wrote: "Hi Chris
Well done you. My sister said it was hard and she is an avid reader!!!
Do you know there is a sequel out now and \i think it's called A Suitable A Girl."


You're right on the title, but I heard it was coming out in 2013? But if it's out, perhaps next winter's read! :-))


message 7: by Sally (new)

Sally Bushnell Chris wrote: "Sally wrote: "Hi Chris
Well done you. My sister said it was hard and she is an avid reader!!!
Do you know there is a sequel out now and \i think it's called A Suitable A Girl."

You're right on the..."

Oh thanks for that I wasn't sure if it was already out there, I shall have to buy that for my sister now!


message 8: by Shelley (new)

Shelley Well Done! Looking forward to your review!


Julie YAY! And before the April 1 deadline, to boot. Let Spring begin!


message 10: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Jeanette wrote: "Yahoo! Your next assignment is And Ladies of the Club, a trifle at only 1184 pages. ;-) :D"

I've read that and I was only "eh" about it. For a good long book, I'd recommend "Sacajawa" by Anna Lee Waldo. Unfortunately, it's longer at 1424 pages, but I remember pulling an all nighter in college so I could finish it!


message 11: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin I used to own a copy. Funny, I have no idea what happened to it. I read it in the mid 90s.


message 12: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Wow, I remember no racy scenes in Sacajawea. I'd re-read it if it wasn't for the fact that it is as long as it is!


message 13: by Karishma (new) - added it

Karishma Parvati is not pregnant!! thats just an April Fool joke Pran plays. Anyways, a succinct review.


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