Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
McArthur and Co 1993 (issue read 2003)
Oh... my .. God.. to say I loved this book is a GROSS understatement. Seriously. First of all it is a HUGE book with a LOVELY cover, which are the two deadliest things in terms of "irresistible" qualities a book might have that get me to buy it. It ranks in at a whopping 1474 pages long, and in fact you'd be hard pressed to find the copy that I have. Now you can buy the book in two separate volumes, I suppose to not scare off any would-be buyers of its enormity.

This book, even though extremely long, was so engrossing and pleasant to read that I actually did not want it to end. I tell EVERYBODY about it, and to this date only my sister has bought it and hasn't tackled it yet. But listen to me, people, this book is ACTUALLY really really great!!! I mean REALLY great! And here is the number 1 reason why I love it:

"You too will marry a boy I choose," said Mrs. Rupa
Mehra firmly to her younger daughter.

Lata avoided the maternal imperative by looking around the great lamp-lit garden of Prem Nivas. The wedding-guests were gathered on the lawn.

"Hmm," she said. This annoyed her mother further.

"I know what your hmms mean, young lady, and I can tell you I will not stand for hmms in this matter. I do know what is best. I am doing it all for you. Do you think it is easy for me, trying to arrange things for all four of my children without His help?"

Etc. These are the first sentences and it already shows Lata's relationship with her "Ma" as strained in a hilarious way. It reminds me very much of Amy Tan's writing as in The Kitchen God's Wife. She usually has a very "overburdened" mother who always LOUDLY lets everyone know how much she has sacrificed for them. This is Lata and her mother.

Other than this very entertaining interplay between these two characters it is a beautifully written novel about India, its culture, its people, and it is an epic following this family and Lata's quest for love and happiness. Ever since reading it I have been drawn to other books that have a setting in India and love to be immersed into that world.
I highly recommend it to everyone!

3 Blabs:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

WOW...I am impressed you read this one. I wanted to, but the 1,000++ pages made me add it to my list instead. Great review.

Kristen said...

This book is definitely worth every one of its pages. I loved it too and have always had a strange obsession with all Indian literature.

Natalie W said...

I'll have to add this one to my must read list! Sounds like an awesome read. I'm a huge Amy Tan fan so anything similar must be good.

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