THIS IS THE STORY OF A GIRL'S SEARCH FOR THE MAN SHE WILL MARRY.SHE MUST CHOOSE FROM 3 SUITORS EITHER BY LOVE OR MATERNAL PERSUASION.THIS CORE IS WOVEN INTO A RICH TAPESTRY OF FAMILY INFLUENCES
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‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
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!
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.... Read more ›
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.
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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