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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read
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...
Published on 26 Jan. 2004 by Rohun

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily long
Warning: if you are buying a Kindle version of this book, please do not underestimate how long it is. I'm usually a marathon reader but I struggled to get through this book. It felt longer and the storyline more complicated than it needed to be (but not particularly gripping), and became a dogged struggle to the end to complete. One positive is that the length of the book...
Published 4 months ago by Cristelle


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read, 26 Jan. 2004
By 
Rohun (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Suitable Boy (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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Journey, 19 Feb. 2003
By 
A. Peel (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Suitable Boy: v. 1 (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book for life, 28 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: A Suitable Boy (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book, although probably not for everyone. This is definitely not a book for the IPAD\Tablet generation. This is a slow pulse book, which meanders through the contours and nooks and cranies of post-war, post-independence Indian life. It is an amazing insight into the psychology and sociology of middle class India. One of its benefits to a Westerner is to remind one of the assumptions and nuances of a very different culture. Certainly I found it challenging to some of my assumptions about the individual, family and social responsibilty. Incidentally one should mention that it is beautifully written and elegant in tone and structure. But that is not really the point; the book is a world in its own right. A paradigm of gentle detail and meandering thoughts, with a myriad of details about the small thoughts that occupy our heads most of the time.

The book takes time to get into, but the rewards for the patient reader are great. Don't worry about the story, this is a book of mood, of colours, of inner pscychologuical landscapes. It is wonderfully funny, but in a gentle, intellectual way that is probably out of style now. This is not a book for those bursting with testosterone or adrenalin junkies. Tbis is a work of refinement, wit, reflection, irony and quality. The fact that the author is so well known and deservedly famous almost gives one hope about the human race. This is the anti-thesis of banal, brain-dead celebrity culture. It really is quite good!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Suitable Boy, 5 July 2008
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Suitable Boy (Paperback)
I found 'A Suitable Boy' to be a slow starter, but once you get going you'll be hooked. I found the first 300 hundred, or so, pages quite frustrating as I was waiting for something to happen, but then I settled into the story and realised that this was a meandering tale of family dynamics and the bonds of society. Once you realise that this book will not have huge shocks and intrigue the whole way through, but rather the gentle telling of lives and how they are intertwined with the odd moment of suspense or excitement, then you will become completely engrossed and compelled to return to this book at every given moment. The writing isn't stunningly beautiful (like In Arundhati Roys 'God Of Small Things', which I highly recommend if you enjoyed this) , but it's simplicity keeps you hooked to the story told, which may be more important in a book of this length. This is a big book and it will take some time to get through, but every moment is worthwhile and the journey is more important than the ending, so take your time and enjoy it. Well worth a read.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A suitable Joy., 31 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Suitable Boy (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel.... one of a kind!, 10 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Suitable Boy: v. 1 (Paperback)
This is the best book I have read so far. The book is full of characters and the story is well planned. It is a lovely story and I couldn't put the book down! Vikram Seth has gone deep into all topics that he has written about, be it culture, medicine, law or even politics. I have already started reading it again and I am enjoying it even more! It is a must read for every one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest work of comtemporary fiction I have read, 23 Sept. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: A Suitable Boy (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
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as everyone else says it is, 4 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Suitable Boy (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. Having read the book I felt for the first time as if I had an idea of what it would be like to have lived in post-independence India. No other book has taught me as much about a place.
If the book has a flaw it is the ending. I won't give it away, but I feel the book cries out for a sequel. It is as if Seth, having written so much, didn't quite know how to stop. But this is just a minor gripe.
Reading this book is an undoubted commitment, but it more than repays the reader's efforts. The reviews on the book itself are for once no exaggeration. If you make time for it it will, as one review says, keep you company for the rest of your life.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe all the rave reviews, 5 Oct. 2005
This review is from: A Suitable Boy (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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, detailed, highly recommended, 11 April 2007
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This review is from: A Suitable Boy (Paperback)
I was slightly dubious when I first purchased the book due to the sheer bulk of it - sometimes writers have a habit of droning on an on writing over 10 pages when something can be described concisely in half a page.

Not so with a Suitable Boy, the characters feel so real, by the time I finished I almost felt a sense of loss, like I had made friends and wouldn't be seeing them again. Each character is so different yet their traits conveyed so perfectly.

An excellent book, the attention to detail is impeccable and you feel as if you are in 1950s India and in the characters lives. Vikram Seth is without a doubt a gifted writer and I look forward to reading other work by him.
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A Suitable Boy: v. 1
A Suitable Boy: v. 1 by Vikram Seth (Paperback - 2 Oct. 1995)
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