Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth's novel is, at its core, a love story: the tale of Lata's--and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra's--attempts to find a suitable boy for Lata, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. 
Set in the early 1950s in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. 
A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.

[Book Description Source: ]

 The book covers an engaging story that is set in the post-independence India. 
The story unfolds through four middle class families—Mehras, Kapoors, Khans and Chatterjis. 
It also describes India's caste system that has four main classes, which are further based originally on personality, profession and birth.
However, the main plot of the novel revolves around Lata Mehra, a university student, who is under pressure of her mother Rupa and brother Arun for getting married. 
Her family is looking for a ‘suitable boy’ who could meet the standards set by her family.
The novel highlights how marriage in India becomes a family affair, where all members of a family play considerable parts.
It also focuses on typical problems that were faced by India soon after independence. 
Some of the major issues mentioned in the book are tensions between Hindus and Muslims, empowerment of women and the zamindari system.
Divided into 19 parts, each chapter in the book is about different characters which keep inter-relating the stories and, at last reach, to one conclusion. 
The author has beautifully explained and intertwined the lives of all the characters in an extraordinary manner.
Regarded as one of the classic examples of Indian Literature in English, A Suitable Boy, at around 1500 pages, remains to be one of the lengthiest novels ever published in English language in a single volume.
 [Book Description]

Goodreads Rating - 3.97 out of 5 ( 35,300 Ratings , 1702 Reviews  - As on July 20 2017)
My Rating  4 out of 5
My Comments:Most probably the longest book I have ever read in my life (almost 1500 pages). Yet it kept me hooked throughout. Not a single boring moment.
An excellent portrayal of the characters from educated middle-class families, set in the times of newly independent India.

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