Author: Vikram Seth
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0140230335
An immensely enjoyable novel which describes with unhurried pace the panorama of India. . . Illuminates segments of Indian life quite brilliantly minted by a master artist.
Set in post-independence India, the novel follows for eighteen months or so four linked families in Calcutta, the province of Purva Pradesh and its capital Brahmpur, and the cities - Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow - traveled by the heroine's mother in her search for a suitable boy, But the greatness of the novel, its unassailable truthfulness, owes less to research than to imagination, an instinctive knowledge of the human heart - with all its varieties of kindness and cruelty, its capacity to hurt .. As with all the best books, one feels only dismay when the pages on the right of the tome start thinning out.
So vast and so amiably peopled, A Suitable boy is a long, sweet, sleepless pilgrimage to life, Rich and epical. A suitable boy is nonetheless strikingly unpretentious .. In 1400 pages the novel covers India like a sun, warming a whole country in its historical rays . . It is almost impossible to imagine an unswayed reader. - - The Guardian
Not merely one of the longest novels in English, it may also prove to be the most fecund as well as the most prodigious work of the latter half of the century. - - The Times
A phenomenon, a prodigy, a marvel of the 19th century storytelling in the language of today . . It is hard to believe that Seth is only one man. He writes with the omniscience and authority of a large, orderly committee of experts on Indian politics, law, medicine, crowd psychology, urban and rural social customs, dress, cuisine, horticulture, funerary rites, cricket and even the technicalities of shoe manufacture. - - Evening Standard
A quietly monumental novel .. Seth has given us that unlikeliest of hybrids, a modest tour de force. - - Times Literary Supplement
We should be grateful for this panoramic sweep which revives in our memory a period when a whole way of life came to an end.. Seth's sure touch is really quite incredible, his characters are consistent from beginning to end. - - The Hindu
Puts a subcontinent between hard covers .. Hundreds of people stream into view and are illuminated by the brilliant, warm lucidity of Vikram Seth's regard . . Conceived on the grand scale of the great 19th century novels -War and Peace. Middlemarch - A suitable boy grows to match them in its breadth and depth.. A massive and magnificent book. - - The Sunday Times
Everything appears familiar to us yet in fact it is newly minted by a master artist. - - The Hindustan Times
1. Browsing through books, two students meet one day.
A mother mopes; a medal melts away.
2. A courtesan sings coolly through the heat.
A hopeful lover buys a parakeet.
3. A couple glide down-river in a boat.
A mother hears that mischief is afloat.
4. Two men discuss the Brahmpur leather trade.
A pair of brogues (maroon) is planned and made.
5. Blood soaks a lane, and bullets ricochet.
A legislative vixen baits her prey.
6.A baby kicks; a bloodshot Raja yowls.
A young man speeds downhill; a father growls.
7. Calcutta simmers in a stew of talk.
A cemetery affords a pleasing walk.
8. Beneath the neem the village children play.
Worn cattle churn the burning earth to clay.
9. A desperate mother ventures to deploy
Fair means or foul to net a suitable boy.
10. A wolf-hunt is arranged; at Baitar Fort
A cheated marksman looks for further sport.
11. Old landlords sue the state to keep their lands.
Crushed corpses rot upon the holy sands.
12. A kiss brings fury, Twelfth Night sparks a snub,
and even bridge stokes tumult at the Club.
13. A child is born; wise women come to look.
A cobbler writes. A poet mails his book.
14. The Prime Minister fights, and keeps his head.
Sad sons assuage the spirits of their dead.
15.The flames of Karbala and Lanka blaze,
Igniting madness through the city's maze.
16. Calcutta Christmas lights festoon Park Street;
And at a cricket match three suitors meet.
17. Someone is stabbed in Bhahmpur. Someone dies,
while private shame is viewed by public eyes.
18. One person, five, and forty thousand choose;
Some win, some draw, and - as must be- some lose.
19. The curtain falls, the players take their how
And wander off the stage- at least for now.