Harsh Dutta's Reviews > A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
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's review
Jun 05, 2012

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A Suitable Boy is a literary marathon or perhaps a literary Tour de France. You go thru different terrains (emotions), some mundane, some thrilling, some exciting, some ordinary. In the end, you have to love the masterpiece even though it bleeds superfluousness. I'd say that the first 600-odd pages of 1350-page book are the most wonderful when the character development happens. The next 500-odd are regular, the last 200 build and abruptly burn the climax.

I'd say A Suitable Boy could have been shorter, considering the storyline. It could have been as clearly and wonderfully articulated in lesser words. The customs, rituals and principles of two religions consume a lot pages, which might be fascinating to a non-Indian reader. However, for am Indian writer such as me, I have witnessed those (like Ramlila) many times.

Having said that, some characters are just too lovable and I wish unfairly that the book had more of them - such as Maan, Haresh, Meenakshi and Saeeda Bai. For me, two principal characters in Lata and her mother Mrs Rupa Mehra were rather boring.
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