A Suitable Boy

A Suitable Boy

Paperback

By (author) Vikram Seth

List price $17.27

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Paperback $17.46
  • Publisher: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • Format: Paperback | 1504 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 64mm | 862g
  • Publication date: 23 August 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1857990889
  • ISBN 13: 9781857990881
  • Illustrations note: facsimiles, tables
  • Sales rank: 18,993

Product description

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. Set in post-Independence India and involving the lives of four large families and those who orbit them, it is also a vast panoramic exploration of a whole continent at a crucial hour 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

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Author information

Vikram Seth was born in 1952. He trained as an economist and has lived for several years each in England, California, China and India. He is the author of A Suitable Boy, which was an international number one bestseller, An Equal Music and several other novels. He has also written five volumes of poetry including Beastly Tales.

Editorial reviews

Set in newly independent India, Nehru's early 1950's, this adipose saga counterbalances a book of social manners - the marrying off of a well-to-do educated young woman, Lata Mehra - with a historical account (even at the level of transcribed parliamentary debate) of the subcontinent trying to find its societal bearings vis-a-vis language, religion, and the redistribution of estate-lands taken off the hands of the elite. Set mainly in Brahmpur, the story encompasses four well-off families, with a focus mostly on the younger members - poets, academics, playboys, newlyweds - who stitch a pattern of peccadillo through their elders' expectations. Meanwhile, Seth, whose California novel in verse, The Golden Gate (1986), was clever and energetic in concept but dull and soapy in final effect, falls into the same trap here: lots of stuff obviously - at a marathon 1300-plus pages - but characters made out of cliche, with background-India the very stuffed pillow of local color that keeps them standing. The book, too, fairly squeaks with its own pleasure in itself, larded with poetry and a general recommendation of art over politics and money: the characters it spends the most time over are narcissists. Anyone wanting to read how a marriageable daughter can X-ray a whole society ought to let this cream-puff-wrapped-in-a-cinder-block pass and return to Tanizaki's classic Japanese masterpiece, The Makioka Sisters. Fat (the publishing world's delayed reparation for Rushdie's Satanic Verses?) but fatuous. (Kirkus Reviews)