dimanche 17 janvier 2010

A massive read

At 1474 pages, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy has got to be one of the heftiest books I’ve ever read. And not only is it hefty in weight it carries a corresponding heft in terms of subject matter. Ostensibly it is the story of Lata Meera and her mother’s search for a suitable match for her and the story takes place during the immediate years just after India achieves independence. But much more than a story about the search for a husband, it is a wide sweeping tale of India herself. In writing this tale, Seth has undertaken to tell a broad tale of intricate family relationships, politics, religion and Indian culture. No wonder it took him 1474 pages!

This book is one to be savored with time and concentration. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that reading this book requires a sort of withdrawal from society. It requires you to pay attention and the story does take a firm hold of you. Fortunately for the reader the book is also filled with humor so its length doesn’t become too burdensome. What truly amazed me while reading the book was the breathtaking scope of the story and yet it also tells a beautifully intimate story of tangled family relationships. You truly get a marvelous glimpse of India and its culture with this book. And you won't begrudge the time spent reading it.

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