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A Suitable Boy: Vikram Seth

“But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they’re bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they’re good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.”

How do I even begin to start describing this book. On the surface, it is just the story of a mother finding a suitable boy for her daughter. But going deep it is a personification of the life of the upper-middle-class family in post-Independence India.

If you have been lucky to spend some time with your grandparents or someone who has lived during that era, you would know how accurately it matches the story told by them. In fact, you will find a glimpse of the life of present-day middle-class families too throughout the book.

Now, talking about Lata’s prospects. I feel they are the personification of Psychologist Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. Kabir being the representation of romantic love which contains passion and love. Amit being the representation of companionate love and Haresh as fatuous love. So debating which one is better is like writing a research paper on it. And hence, it doesn’t matter to me which one she chooses in the end. I enjoyed learning the aspects of each suitor and I found myself rooting for each one of them from time to time.

Coming to language and writing, it is so beautiful, almost lyrical. There are so many characters in the book, and it becomes very difficult for authors to close all threads in such books. But I realized that as the book was approaching its end, I couldn’t care less about how it all concludes. I just wanted this book to go on and on.

If I draw an analogy it is like life, which never has any conclusion, nor do we want one. Because the only conclusion for one’s life is death and even after that life around you always goes on and on.


I know many people are daunted by the sheer volume of this book. But the language is so simple and beautiful that it is very easy to glide through it. And believe me, it will feel totally worth it in the end. So

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Published inBooksFiction

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