“Surrender to this strange, beguiling world and be swept away on the wings of story. . . . It is difficult to imagine that many contemporary writers could give us a novel that provides so much deep satisfaction.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy tells the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love, ambition, humor, sadness, prejudice, reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette, and the most appalling violence.
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, this compelling story takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves.
Vikram Seth has written acclaimed books in several genres: verse novel, The Golden Gate; travel book, From Heaven Lake; animal fables, Beastly Tales; epic fiction, A Suitable Boy. His most recent novel, An Equal Music, was published in 1999. He lives in England and India.
“Surrender to this strange, beguiling world and be swept away on the wings of story. . . . It is difficult to imagine that many contemporary writers could give us a novel that provides so much deep satisfaction.” — Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
“Awe . . . is what Seth’s labor inspires in the reader. In the end it is as if one had listened to a raag played by a musician with skill, dexterity, and charm.” — Anita Desai, New York Review of Books
“Enormously varied, unfailingly interesting, funny, sad, exasperating and appealing, this novel becomes a real passage to India.” — Atlantic Monthly
“Spellbinding . . . Patterned after the massively populated nineteenth-century social novels of Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope and George Eliot, A Suitable Boy is as vast and teeming as its subject, India.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“[Seth is] passionately concerned to offer his Western readers as thick—and as multilayered—a slice of Indian life in the 1950s as this huge novel can hold . . . Lavishly detailed . . . lovingly recounted.” — New York Times Book Review
“The novel casts a fine spell. . . . As you turn page after quiet page . . . what you’re doing gradually passes beyond reading. It becomes an involuntary act, like breathing.” — Newsweek
“A Suitable Boy provides that rarest of books, a literary tour de force as pleasant as it is unpretentious . . . a book as suitable for the scholar’s nightstand as it is for any restful and enriching summer vacation.” — USA Today
“A magnificent display of artistic control. . . . A Suitable Boy is a page-turner…that pays the reader back and richly.” — Los Angeles Times
“A vivid tapestry of Indian life in the early 1950s . . . [Seth’s] characters are captivating . . . They linger in the mind like old friends.” — People
“A huge, fulsome novel . . . [with] surprising depths . . . What makes the book special is the wit and whimsy that inform its pages.” — Chicago Tribune