Vikram Seth's novel is, at its core, a love story: the tale of Lata - and her mother's - attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. At the same time, it is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world's population faces its first great ...
Vikram Seth's novel is, at its core, a love story: the tale of Lata - and her mother's - attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. At the same time, it is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world's population faces its first great general election and the chance to map its own destiny. 'A SUITABLE BOY may prove to be the most fecund as well as the most prodigious work of the latter half of this century - perhaps even the book to restore the serious reading public's faith in the contemporary novel ...You should make time for it. It will keep you company for the rest of your life' Daniel Johnson, The Times
This book is big, but worth the difficulty of carrying it around and having to sit at a table with it. 1341 pages, but it doesn't take as long as you'd expect because you love the characters and really want to know what happens to them. Don't let the size put you off.
Publishers Weekly, 1993-03-08 Seth previously made a splash with his 1986 novel in verse, The Golden Gate . Here he abandons the compression of poetry to produce an enormous novel that will enthrall most readers; those who are fazed by a marathon read, however, may gasp for mercy. Set in the post-colonial India of the 1950s, this sprawling saga involves four families--the Mehras, the Kapoors, the Chatterjis and the Khans--whose domestic crises illuminate the historical and social events of the era. Like an old-fashioned soap opera (or a Bombay talkie), the multi-charactered plot pits mothers against daughters, fathers against sons, Hindus against Muslims and small farmers against greedy landowners facing government-ordered dispossession. The story revolves around independent-minded Lata Mehra: Will she defy the stern order of her widowed upper-caste Hindu mother by marrying the Muslim youth she loves? The search for Lata's husband expands into a richly detailed and exotically vivid narrative that crisscrosses the fabric of India. Seth's panoramic scenes take the reader into law courts, religious processions, bloody riots, academia--even the shoe trade. Portraits of actual figures are incisive; the cameo of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, for example, captures his high-minded, well-meaning indecision. Seth's point of view is both wry and affectionate, and his voluble, palpably atmospheric narrative teems with chaotic, irrepressible life. 100,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection; QPB alternate; author tour. (May)
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