A Suitable Boy | Vikram Seth

The Literary Blog hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase.
Each week a new question is posed – this week the question is….

What one literary work must you read before you die?

For me, that’s easy – it’s Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy‘.

I loved this book from start to finish (which means that I loved this book for quite some time…it took about 2 months to finish!) and I wanted everyone else to read it and love it as much as I did.

It was full of drama, history, memorable characters, pathos, humour, love and grief. I was genuinely upset when I finally finished the book – I missed the characters like they were real friends and family members. I carried the book around with me and declared to my book group that I wished to be buried with it when I died!

A Suitable Boy book popped into my hands during the middle of my Indian reading phase (obsession). I had already read The God of Small Things, several books by Anita Desai, A Passage to India by E.M. Forster & Midnight’s Children by Salmon Rushdie.

By the end of A Suitable Boy, I was dreaming about India. What seemed so exotic and alien early in my reading had become familiar and knowable.
I think that’s why books like this are so important.

We only ever get to live one lifetime each; through books we can experience hundreds.
Anything, any book, any author, any character that allows you to “climb inside of his skin and walk around in it“^ is important.

For me, A Suitable Boy was one of those book. Just as Harper Lee opened up the deep South during my teen years, Seth – and India – captured my thirties.

I still find myself thinking about Lata and Amit to this day, wondering what they’re up to, hoping they’re okay. So you can imagine my delight, when two years ago I learnt that Seth was writing a sequel called ‘A Suitable Girl’. I have high hopes it will be published next year so I can add it to my personal list of books that I must read before I die.

Happy Reading!

Later:

I’m such a dill !!
I didn’t check the date on the above Blog Hop properly. Turns out the March dates were for 2011!! But I had so much fun putting this together, I’ve decided to keep this here anyway. I will join in another (up-to-date!) Literary Blog Hop soon 🙂

^ To Kill A Mockingbird | Harper Lee

Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find—through love or through exacting maternal appraisal—a suitable boy for Lata to marry. 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.

6 thoughts on “A Suitable Boy | Vikram Seth

  1. Oh, I DO want to read A Suitable Boy….. I have a copy in my office. It sits there, enormously, taunting me. Every time I host a book club meeting at my house, I bring it out and say \”why don't we pick THE CHUNKSTER this time?\” But no one agrees. :). Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

    Like

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