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A Suitable Boy Paperback – 23 Aug 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1504 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (23 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • 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 (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The best writer of his generation (The Times)

This novel, so vast and so amiably peopled, is a long, sweet, sleepless pilgrimage to life . . . His novel deserves thousands of long marriages and suitable readers (Guardian)

No one, surely, could wish this novel shorter . . . the greatness of the novel, its unassailable truthfulness, owes less to research than to imagination, an instinctive knowledge of the human heart (Observer)

Not merely one of the longest novels in English; it may also prove to be the most fecund as well as the most prodigious work of the latter half of [the twentieth] century (The TImes)

A quietly monumental novel . . . [Seth] has given that unlikeliest of hybrids, a modest tour de force (TLS)

An immensely enjoyable novel which describes with unhurried pace the panorama of India . . . Everything appears familiar to us, yet in fact it is newly minted by a master artist (Hindustan Times)

Conceived on a grand scale of the great 19th century novels - War and Peace, Middlemarch - A Suitable Boy grows to match them in breadth and depth . . . [A] massive and magnificent book (Sunday Times)

A phenomenon, a prodigy, a marvel of 19th century storytelling in the language of today . . . It is hard to believe that Seth is only one man. He writes with the omniscience and authority of a large, orderly committee of experts on Indian politics, law, medicine, crowd psychology, urban and rural social customs, dress, cuisine, horticulture, funerary rites, cricket and even the technicalities of shoe manufacture (Evening Standard)

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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 such 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 has been 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 provides ample time for strong character development and a detailed description of the political and social environment of India in the early 1950s. It is nicely written, but in comparison to 'A Fine Balance' by Rohinton Mistry, largely forgettable.
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