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A Suitable Boy Paperback – 23 Aug 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1504 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (23 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857990889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857990881
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 259,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘This novel, so vast and so amiably peopled, is a long, sweet, sleepless pilgrimage to life… Such writing reminds us that there are secrets beyond technique, beyond even style, which have to do with a quality of soul on the part of the writer, a giving of oneself… His novel deserves thousands of long marriages and suitable readers.’
Guardian

‘Vivid, evocative and beautifully written, A Suitable Boy casts its net far and wide across the country… Seth has a wonderful sense of place and the (fictional) city of Brahmpur is almost a character in its own right… The cast of A Suitable Boy is as vast and various as that of any 19th century novel.’
Literary Review

‘A Suitable Boy modulates unawkwardly from moments of delicate emotional and psychological accuracy to scenes of panoramic drama… it lines up with its eminent 19th century predecessors in combining depth of imagination with breadth of appeal.’
Sunday Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The classic Number One bestseller from award-winning author Vikram Seth.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Rohun on 26 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
When I finally finished this mammoth book I have to admit feeling a sense of sadness as if I would "miss" the characters that I had become to enthralled by for so long.
Seth portrays India in an endearing and charming way and each character is created brilliantly, be it the self-centered Meenakshi, or the charming yet wastrel of Maan. Yet the story is basically a love story and set against the backdrop of the politics in India of 1951/2 it is a captivating read. Being of Indian origin this was even more significant for me, but it will appeal to readers of all backgrounds.
I shall miss reading this book fondly!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Peel on 19 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
One could say that "A Suitable Boy" is the perfect title for this work by Vikram Seth as it is indeed the tale of Lata's search for an ideal husband, according both to Lata's own and her family's definitions of "suitable"; be they social, religious, political or personal. Alongside her and her family, we are lead to antagonise over how much she should value love? How much she may be willing to sacrifice for it and where following intense love might lead? We share these and many other quandries with her.
However, around Lata there are many other lives, all connecting with her own, and yet heading in their own directions too. As is the case in real life, there is never just one story, and I am tempted to say that to read "A Suitable Boy" is like living in the heart of India and, more particularly, in the heart of the world Seth created, with all your soul.
So much are we drawn into the characters' lives by the rich nature of Seth's descriptions and dialogues, that it is very tedious to have to do anything else but read and be with them all. I am not sure what I will do without them now that I have sadly reached the end and discovered who the suitable boy actually was.........
This is a very special book indeed, perhaps the best I have ever read.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
This book, reputed to be the longest written in the English language, is a total immersion experience, and you can almost smell India at times. Anyone who has read their share of English classics will hear echoes, from George Eliot, Dickens and Austin, as the old concerns about marrying well are analysed in newly-independent, post-war India. Whom should our girl marry, the poet or the cobbler? Should we marry one we are enthralled by or one that lets us be ourselves? These things are asked but not always answered, against a background of politics and religion. What made it for me were the totally loveable and some equally repellent characters you meet along the way. These seem like real people, which is the delightful triumph of this epic work. There are plenty of blank pages at the back of the book to write your own glossary of the many Indian words you will come across. A book to savour, as you lie on your charpoy, sipping a cool nimbu pani.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
It is truly magical. Not in the slightest bit turgid, it flows. Makes you want to go there and see for yourself. The characters are so real, and you can see normal people living real lives, just like everyone else in the world. You could set this book at any time in history, and in any place, but it would require a miracle to improve on the place and time chosen by Vikram Seth.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 April 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a somewhat superflous review, given the praise heaped on this book by all the other reviewers.And they're quite right. This is the rarest of things, a long, literary novel that really delivers and can be enjoyed by anyone who's reasonably literate and has enough time on their hands.
Proof positive that size really does matter, A Suitable Boy's biggest strength is it huge length. Though some passages are redundant, generally the scale of the book adds to its power and resonance, so that by its end the sheer fact of having spent so much time with the characters makes you view them all as friends. The characters are also wonderfully drawn and hugely sympathetic, and though each acts in their own idiosyncratic way, they never stray beyond the boundaries of believability. Lata in particular will be engrained in your consciousness by the end of the book. I viewed her almost as a sister, so strongly did I feel for her. In breaks from reading the book I actually sat around worrying if things were going to work out okay for her. No other book has made me to that.
But as well as being a portrait of an individual and 4 families, A Suitable Boy is a portrait of an entire nation. Although all the main characters are middle class, the book's characters range from Nehru to the poorest peasants. Allegorically, the story of Lata also reflects that of India as a whole. Lata is growing up and trying to make her own decision about marriage just as the world's largest democracy is making its first great decision - in the 1951 General Election. Lata's choices subtly mirror those of the nation to which she belongs, adding another dimension to an already extraordinary story.
The portait of Indian society is remarkable in just how much it seems to teach you of the Indian mindset.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By gloucestershire girl on 5 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a sceptic. Having read glowing reviews, pages of them, I was still unconvinced but read it anyway, preparing to scorn. Several other so called 'best ever' reads reviewed in a similar light left me completely cold (Cloud Atlas and White Teeth being the most memorable disappointments of late).
But I was totally unprepared for how I would feel about this book. Like many other reviewers, it rates as one if not the most amazing book that I've ever read. It got me hooked almost immediately and the characters, story and the sheer beauty of the writing and images got under my skin. I finished it a couple of months ago now and haven't been able to enjoy or finish the pile of unread fiction books stacking up since- nothing has yet compared to it.
Read it and see for yourself.
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