Un buen partido

ISBN: 8433906763
ISBN 13: 9788433906762
By: Vikram Seth

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About this book

«Tú también te casarás con quien yo diga», le dice la señora Rupa Mehra a su hija Lata al principio de esta historia. Desde ese momento, la búsqueda de un buen partido para Lata se convierte en el motor de este extraordinario fresco de la India de los años cincuenta, un país que aún restaña las heridas de su reciente independencia; donde los esfuerzos modernizadores tropiezan con las ancestrales costumbres y donde los matrimonios se concertan por intereses familiares. En la tradición de Tolstói, George Eliot o Jane Austen, Vikram Seth nos ofrece una verdadera tranche de vie en la que los personajes viven, sienten, aman, odian y luchan por escapar o alcanzar su destino.

Reader's Thoughts


** spoiler alert ** I finally finished it. Overall, it was a good read but I can't say that it was one of my favorites.1. It was too long. The stories could have been told in a more succinct way. This includes the politics. I found myself constantly re-reading those sections.2. The author should have included a glossary to define some of the terms he used or used the words in a way that I could figure out what he was talking about. In some places he did this but not nearly enough and so I found myself trying to figure it out and eventually, specially in the final 300 pages so moving on, only to realize that it was not necessary to know what he was talking about.3. There was a lot of information about politics, religion, cultural norms as they relate to a class but I don't feel that I understand it better now as a result. There is a lot of information in my head but I can't make sense of it.4. I felt that some of the characters were intentionally, by the author, portrayed in a certain light and all with the goal of leading Lata, the main character to her choice in the end. I noticed this from the beginning when Lata had a conversation with Malati about her future choice. At that point, I knew what her choice would be but continued reading the remaining 1400 pages anyway. Savita was there as the light to lead Lata in case she got "lost". Arun was portrayed as the fool of the family. Really clueless of himself being a pawn at his employer and self-absorbed in the status it represented. This I believe was the nail on the coffin for Lata's decision.5. There were characters that were very interesting but the author ran out of time to finish their stories. I cared more about them and in the end was disappointed that I will never know what became of them. I can insinuate about Maan, Malati and Firoz (among others) but then it would be my story and not the authors.Maybe one day I will read it again and perhaps spend more time on the politics and less on the characters.


The book blurb says it all. I will only add my comments.While reading this monumental novel of 1535 pages, I was wondering how much of the original offering was edited out to end up with this number of pages as the final result! I also wondered, while ploughing through it, how much of the existing book can be cut out and still leave the essential core. Probably half of it. Compared to Barbara Kingsolver and Yung Chang, Vikram Seth needed twice as much pages to tell similar stories as these two authors.So yes, it was a long-winded journey: a story of India after Partition, that was told through the eyes of four extended families with each member profiled to the last red spot of paan on the teeth. This book really celebrates the good, the bad and the ugly of humankind. Mrs. Rupa Mehra, with her daughter,Lata, get the train rolling when it becomes time to find a suitable husband for Lata. India in all its colorful splendor is presented to the reader to almost the puking stage, to be really honest! But how fascinating the journey!Enough! Enough! Enough! I often wanted to just run away, and I did, since it is the end of the financial year (February) and what is normally a quiet relaxed month turned out to be one of the craziest in recent history. But each evening I sneaked off to bed and grabbed the book as though my life depended on it. In retrospect this book was amazing. The drama lasted the entire 1535 pages and that really makes this book outstanding! There's no villains, only ordinary people writing their own histories while living their lives. I do not want to add too much spoilers and blow the plot, or give away the story. But I cannot leave out one of the most outstanding moments in the book, for me: it was the passing of a mother and it had me crying like losing my own. (view spoiler)[" She had dispersed. She was the garden at Prem Nivas (soon to be entered into the annual Flower Show), she was Veena's love of music, Pran's asthma, Maans generosity, the survival of some refugees four years ago, the neem leaves that would preserve quilts stored in the great zinc trunks of Prem Nivas, the moulting feathers of some pond herons, a small unrung brass bell, the memory of decency in an indecent time, the temperament of Bhaskar's great-grandchildren, indeed, for all the Minister of Revenue's impatience with her, she was his regret. And it was right that she should continue to be so, for he should have treated her better while she lived, the poor, ignorant, grieving fool." (hide spoiler)]Much of India's modern history could have been my own country's. Even the name of political parties, the titles of new bills, the speeches made in parliament, the way landowners got treated, sounded like it was written for South Africa. Much of the events are disturbingly similar. In fact, it is a blueprint and it turned my stomach upside down. Not that it is a surprise, but it is still upsetting to experience.I liked this book. It was a brilliant presentation of Mother India and all her beautiful children.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Ellie Ray

This book combines Jane Austen's sensitivity to the nuances of social interaction and compelling characters with a Tolstoyesque interest in every social, political, economic and religious detail pertaining to the greater world of the plot. Lata, the main character, is a college student in Brahmpur in the 1950s whose mother is determined to marry her off to some nice middle-class boy (hence the title), but the 1400+ novel (one of the longest ever published in English) often ignores her for chapters at a stretch as it follows the socialites, english professors, shoemakers, courtesans, mathematicians, politicians and ascetics who make up her social milieu.Some of the political stuff towards the end dragged on, and though it was very interesting to learn about Indian politics after the death of Gandhi (which I knew nothing about), these passages recalled to me the tedious grouse-hunting episodes in Anna Karenina which have twice foiled my attempts to read that book through to the end. The rest of it was very good, though, or at least I felt compelled to read it all the time. It felt a bit like getting three seasons of a very engaging mini-series on dvd; in fact I'm really surprised that there seem to have been no attempts to movieize it, I'd watch it over Lost any day.

Akila R

Usually, when I finish reading a book late in the night, I sleep on it and write my "review" in the morning with my cup of coffee in hand. This book made me bring my forgotten laptop and charge it in my bedroom and I am silently typing this away trying not to wake my sleeping husband. The point of this little story behind the review is that, I want to write everything I feel right now and not want my sleep to fade it out in any way. I instantly fall in love with any author that can make me want to viscerally love or hate characters that they create. Each character that has been written in this book has so much depth and life that they stay with you long after you have put down the book (because your wrists are screaming in pain). Mrs. Rupa Mehra made me relive almost all of my college days as she personified pretty much everything my mother stands for. I saw pieces of myself reflected in Lata and I am sure so will any Indian woman who has been through the whole finding a suitor nonsense shenanigan.While I may not agree with what the characters ultimately do with their lives at the end of the book, I can understand why the story ended the way it did. Sure, had I wanted the story to end the way I envisioned it, it would have been filmy and cheesy, but that is not the way life works. In that aspect, I am very happy with the way Seth ended it, he kept it real. Life was like that in the 50s, life is still like that in India today. The book pulls you in with its seemingly simple story of a girl finding a boy, but the story is so intricate and well-woven that it is anything but simple. Newly independent India and how the Congress has begun to squander away all the privileges it had and the slow and steady spread of corruption and the endless bigotry that is still evident in India was eye-opening. As I was reading about Nehru and his policies, I couldn't help but feel that as a nation we could have done a lot more than where we stand today. I wish there were a lot of things that did not go down the way it did in the 1950s as it has definitely set the tone for how India is today. I am not even a person who spends much time thinking about politics or patriotism but Seth does invoke those in me through his brilliant narration. He somehow ties in all the politics and the aftermath of the Partition into his story about these four families that are tied together by marriage and friendship. Of course, the bits about the politics and socialism in it did tend to drag it a bit, but I appreciate his insights and I am considerably enlightened after the experience. I am very happy that I stuck it out and read this monumental book. Every hour that I spent with it was a pleasure and I am sort of sorry that it ended. I will now go and nurse my heartbreak for the boys who didn't make the final cut!

Lynne King

This is a magnificent saga, which left me breathless and awaiting the next word, set in India at the beginning of the fifties."Suitable Boy" by Vikram Seth's “epic love story set in India. Funny and tragic, with engaging, brilliantly observed characters, it is as close as you can get to Dickens for the twentieth century. The story unfolds through four middle class families - the Mehras, Kappoors, Khans and Chatterjis. Lata Mehra, a university student, is under pressure from her mother to get married. But not to just anyone she happens to fall in love with. There are standards to be met and finding a husband for Lata becomes a family affair in which all the members are to play a part.”“The richness of this book is remarkable. What with marriage, religion, customs, etc. it has been a really fascinating read for me.”India's caste system has four main classes (also called varnas) based originally on personality, profession and birth. I’m eternally grateful to Fionnuala for suggesting that I may perhaps like this author. Do I like Vikram Seth? No, of course not. I just happen to adore him. I think that he’s absolutely splendid. I get the same pleasure reading this book as when I’m eating lobster or tasting a superb Burgundy wine or whatever sublime other pleasures that we have in life…My…I must confess that I had never heard of Seth before and I wouldn’t if it hadn’t been for Goodreads. It’s one of those remarkable books that becomes a reference book that once read, you can open it at any page and still get that continual enjoyment. It’s a wonderful sensation to savour…It’s always so difficult for me to write a review on a book that I “love to death” but that has been the case here. This is now my second favourite fiction book after “The Alexandria Quartet” and I could never do that justice. Bravo for the past for Durrell and for the present for Vikram Seth.In conclusion, Fionnuala and Seth – thank you for giving me so much pleasure. What a serendipitous find. I love this book.


After about page 200 I realised this was like eating Turkish Delight morning noon and night and my spiritual teeth were beginning to dissolve under a tide of sickliness which didn't ever let up. All these characters are so unbearably cute, even the less-nice ones. If post-independent India was crossed with Bambi, it would be Vikram Seth's endless gurgling prose. So I stopped reading and drove several three inch nails into my head, and I've been all right since then.


I'm feeling this great sense of accomplishment right now after finishing this gargantuan book this morning. The crazy thing is that I almost wish it wasn't done. I want to know so many things about the characters - (view spoiler)[ did Varun get it together now that he finally made it through his civil service exams, did anything come of him and Kalpana? Is Malati wedging in between that relationship? So many unanswered questions! (sigh) (hide spoiler)] However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, cover-to-cover and would love to see a sequel, A Suitable Girl, all about Varun and his quest for love!This book is an excellent companion to the other wonderful (chunkster-size)India-reading that I have done the last couple of years: A Fine Balance and The Toss of a Lemon. While A Suitable Boy offers an excellent look at post-partition India, it also touched on the touchiness of what was suppose to be a caste-free India. There is clearly progress made in that direction particularly with the younger people and the more educated adults, most of the hold-outs are older people such as Mrs. Tandor, it is evident that it will be a problem a long time to come since Indian society is built on this ugly system. Seth does a wonderful job with his characters - the manipulative, but loveable Mrs. Mehra to the liberated Malati to the arrogant, insecure Arun to the lovely Lata to the ambitious Haresh.Speaking of the search for the "Suitable Boy", the chase was a fun one. Although originally I told myself I would be disappointed if Lata picked anyone other than (view spoiler)[ her true love, Kabir, (hide spoiler)], I could not fault her final choice or her reasons for picking him. I was surprised with how much I concurred and didn't feel the sense of disappointment expected. So, all-in-all - good book, I recommend without hesitation, especially to around-the-world readers. Don't let the size of this book intimidate you into picking it up, just think of it as a trilogy that you will be reading all at once!4.5 stars["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


I love this book. If I had to choose my favourite book of all times, perhaps this one would win it. I don't know what exactly is the reason for loving it so. Maybe its because my life situations are similar to the protagonist Lata in the book. Or because of the tender yet moving way in which the book is written. Or the proper timing of humour in the book, or the interesting plot. Maybe its all of that together. The book begins with Lata at her sister Savita's wedding, where we come to know of Lata's exact situation, her times, her family. As the story goes further, we meet Kabir, a handsome young boy from Lata's college, with whom she soon falls in love. Set in Calcutta, Delhi, Brahmpur and Salimpur, the book is not only about Lata, but many people around her, and about many things, from love to politics to family and religion. Later in the book Lata meets Amit, a writer, and Haresh, a hard-working young fellow in a prestigious Shoe manufacturing company. By the end of the book, as each of the issues get sorted, only one question remains, whom will Lata marry? Kabir, Amit or Haresh? The book ends perfectly, and every reader is bound to love as well as be puzzled by her decision. The book takes one back to simpler times. The sequel to it, A Suitable Girl, or An Unsuitable Boy, will come out this year, and I eagerly await it.

Danielle Franco-Malone

This is one of my five all time favorite books (along with the Handmaid's Tale, On Beauty, the Red Tent, & Corelli's Mandolin). It is a patch work story of many characters' lives; by the end of the story, you see how they all intersect. This was one of those books where when I finished the book I was completely invested in each of the character's life. The story is set in post-independence India and explores a number of social/political issues of the time (i.e. land reform, muslim-hindu relations, women's rights, arranged marriage, the caste system), but the political commentary doesn't hit you over the head, and the characters really drive the story. Despite my enthusiastic recommendations, I've had a hard time finding anyone to read this book! At 1379 pages it is apparently the longest book to be printed in English in one volume. However I found it to be a total page turner. Just resign yourself to the fact that you'll be reading this book for a couple of months and give it a try.

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

This is like a buffet of Indian food. Everything seems to be here, in this monster of a book, all 1349 pages and 3 kilos of it: law, politics, business, history, tradition, superstitions, deities, romance, suspense, tragedy, humor, festivals, marriages, infidelities, friendship, betrayal, family, deaths, births, suicide,court trials, land reform, poetry, the Chatterji's couplets, amusing characters, etc. Even my mother is here (I mean, a character who, in some ways, resembles my mother). There's something in it for everybody and this comprehensiveness makes it difficult for anyone not to like--or at least not to like something in--this book. Personally, I think the best here would be a tie between the love stories and Vikram Seth's wicked, humorous turn of phrase and the witty conversations between his characters which made me smile so many times.Even the heftiness of this book did not escape the author's humor. A character here, Amit, is also an author. In a scene somewhere near the end of the book Amit is entertaining some questions from a group of academicians after a poetry reading he held. One asks him about the novel he is writing which is rumoured to be more than a thousand page long already--"'Why, then, is it rumoured that your forthcoming novel--to be set, I understand, in Bengal--is to be so long? More than a thousand pages!' she exclaimed reproachfully, as if he were personally responsible for the nervous exhaustion of some future dissertationist."'Oh, I don't know how it grew to be so long,' said Amit. 'I'm very undisciplined. 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 about Proust?' asked a distracted-looking lady, who had begun knitting the moment the poems stopped."Amit was surprised that anyone read Proust in Brahmpur. He had begun to feel rather happy, as if he had breathed in too much oxygen."'I'm sure I'd love Proust,' he replied, 'if my mind was more like the Sundarbans: meandering, all-absorptive, endlessly, er, sub-reticulated. But as it is, Proust makes me weep, weep, weep with boredom. Weep', he added, He paused and sighed. "Weep, weep, weep,' he continued emphatically. 'I weep when I read Proust, and I read very little of him.'"There was a shocked silence: why should anyone feel so strongly about anything? It was broken by Professor Mishra."'Needless to say, many of the most lasting monuments of literature are rather, well, bulky.' He smiled at Amit. 'Shakespeare is not merely great but grand, as it were.'"'But only as it were,' said Amit. 'He only looks big in bulk. And I have my own way of reducing that bulk,' he confided. 'You may have noticed that in a typical 'Collected Shakespeare' all the plays start on the right-hand side. Sometimes, the editors bung a picture in on the left to force them to do so. Well, what I do is to take my pen-knife and slit the whole book up into forty or so fascicles. That way I can roll up 'Hamlet' or 'Timon'--and slip them into my pocket. And when I'm wandering around--in a cemetery, say--I can take them out and read them. It's easy on the mind and on the wrists. I recommend it to everyone. I read 'Cymbeline' in just that way on the train here; and I never would have otherwise.'"Vikram Seth may not be aversed to the idea of his book being torn up for easy reading like what his character Amit did to his 'Shakespeares'. But whether you do that or not, you will not weep, weep, weep while reading 'A Suitable Boy.' This is a delightful work of art.

Joy Stephenson

This is a story about relationships – romantic, among families, between friends, in political groups, between religious faiths and sectors of society (including castes). It deals with the conflict between personal freedom / self-fulfilment and duty / responsibility towards others. It is a long and complex novel, in which the stories of the different groups of characters are skilfully plaited together to make a multi-faceted tale. One of the strengths of the book is that each time we return to a character, while he or she may have changed or developed as a person, they behave – not as we would expect exactly, because that would make it boring – but consistent with their nature and experience. No character is wholly good or bad; they are real people. The story doesn't offer any easy answers; decisions made on both the personal and political level have repercussions and sometimes all a character can do is act in a way to cause the least harm. Although this is a very long novel, the pace is excellent with high drama balanced by humour, poignant sadness with joy. This is the second time I have read this book and if anything I enjoyed it even more this time, some 15 years later.

Joyce Lagow

A massive (1474 pages), quiet novel that superficially is something of an Indian novel of manners much in the style of the 19th century English novelists, but which also is a history of India at a critical time� the early 1950s� as experienced by the members of four middle class families and a host of characters from others.[return][return]The central thread of the novel is the search for a husband� � a suitable boy� for Lata Mehra, the younger daughter of Mrs. Rupra Mehra, a widow who lives in the fictional state of Purva Pradesh. Mrs. Mehra� s older daughter, Savita, has just been married to Pran Kapoor, a lecturer at Brahmpur University; Pran is the son of the Minister of Revenue for Purva Pradesh, Mahesh Kapoor, who was one of the original freedom fighters for India� s independence, and who is now an influential member of the ruling Congress Party. The Meharas and the Kapoors, along with the Chatterjis, an upper-class Hindu family of much more modern habits and the Kahns, a Muslim landowning family, provide the bulk of the characters through whose lives the reader sees India. [return][return] It is 1951, 5 years after independence, and 4 years after the agonizing partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The politicians have taken over from the British, and Seth� s account makes it clear that as everywhere else in the world, mediocrity for the most part rules and those who have risen from powerlessness to power are no different in their ambitions than in any other country. India is still fragile, still troubled with tensions between Muslims and Hindus, floundering in many respects� held together mainly through the people� s devotion to their Prime Minister, Nehru. While the novel concerns itself with the lives of those in the four families, who are either related by marriage or by ties of friendship, the political life of the country, as seen through the affairs of Purva Pradesh, is a prominent subthread. Hindu-Muslim riots and the elections of 1952 are an integral part of the story and affect the lives of all the families. Since one of the families is that of a powerful Muslim landowner who is affected by the land redistribution act promulgated and fought for by his best friend, Kapoor, Seth� s narration shows the consequences� both intended and unintended� of a well-meaning legislation aimed at giving poor tenant farmers their own land. Some of which actually wind up harming terribly the very people the legislation is meant to help. Seth does this seamlessly within the framework of the lives of his characters.[return][return]Another fascinating aspect of the book is the description of the Hindu religious celebrations. Since the story takes place over a time period of slightly more than one year, all the major religious celebrations are presented as seen through the participation of the characters� both the devout older women of the story, the somewhat skeptical younger generation who participate more out of a sense of tradition than piety, and of the men in the families, who are almost universally scornful and impatient with what they view as superstition. A panic during one of the major festivals that causes the deaths of hundreds. The inadvertent intermingling of a Hindu and a Muslim religious procession which results in a horrendous riot. These and more are skillfully interwoven into the main story.[return][return]But what leaps out more than anything else in this vast book is the way that the Indian middle classes have become Anglicized. It is a remarkable description of how an oppressed people long dominated by a ruling class of another race has taken on the prejudices and practices of their oppressors. � A suitable boy� must be able to speak English without accent. � A suitable boy� must not be too dark� as one of the characters says she does not want her grandchildren to be black. Lawyers in the courts address judges as � my Lords� . Cricket is a passion.[return][return]One minor flaw that is from time to time irritating: Seth uses a large number of Hindi words for all sorts of things, from the names of trees to fruits to common household items. Most of the time, this is not a problem because either (sooner or later) the meaning becomes clear from the context or the singularity of whatever it is, such as a tree, doesn� t get in the way. But from time to time, it� s a puzzle to understand exactly what Seth is talking about. Is it a chair? A stool? A bed? Some other piece of furniture? The book would benefit from a glossary.[return][return]There is more to this book, but these are the main threads. It� s a quiet book, that at first keeps to its innocent appearance as a book of manners, but slowly draws the reader in to the lives of the characters and the times in which they live. It becomes a page-turner simply because these lives, while quite ordinary in one sense, are caught up in extraordinary times and in a quest to live and be fulfilled when the world around them is changing from the traditional to the inescapably modern. The struggle to adjust, to keep what is valuable and also expected of the traditional� to keep purdah in the face of women� s voting rights, to accept arranged marriages in a world where young men and women can mingle far more freely than is traditional� while adjusting to the freedoms and dangers of the modern world� Seth has done a brilliant job of showing us ordinary, believable people caught up in this transition and making their lives absorbing to a reader 50 years later.[return][return]Highly recommended.[return][return]


This book is huge, and the cast of charcters is enormous. It centres around a hindu girl whose mother wants her to marry a suitable boy. The setting is a city in 1950's India on the verge of dividing through religious lines. I read the book in about three days and as a result could keep all the characters straight ie how they related to each other. I also thought the use of the rhyming couplets at the start of each chapter was amusing.Have to admit if she was my mother I'd be looking for a suitable place to hide the body.

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

This book was such a treat, I am sorry to be finished with it. Yes, it’s longer than War and Peace, but that doesn’t mean it’s drawn-out or dull; it’s simply that the book presents a sprawling tapestry of life in India in the 1950’s, starring several families and with many intersecting plots and subplots. Individual chapters are actually quite short, and something new is always happening. (For that matter, the same can be said for War and Peace – these mammoth novels aren’t as scary as they seem.)It’s a hard book to summarize, because there are so many threads. Part of it is about the love life of a college student, Lata, and her mother’s search for a suitable boy for her to marry. Part of it is about a playboy, Maan, and the various difficulties he gets himself into. There’s a political thread starring Maan’s father, a government minister, and there are domestic dramas in several families, and large-scale tragedies and Hindu-Muslim conflict, and, oh, academic infighting and shoemaking and childbirth and poetry readings and much more. Seth keeps it all interesting, though; I love reading an author who takes a lively interest in everything without getting bogged down in pet hobbies, and seeing so much more of life than the typical novel allows was great fun.There is, of course, a very large cast, but Seth keeps them all distinct and interesting; even when a thread disappears for hundreds of pages at a time, I had no trouble remembering anyone. In all the myriad settings, relationships and situations depicted, the characters are well-drawn and convincing, and that’s no mean feat. By and large this book is about upper-middle and upper-class characters, which keeps the book from being bleak as stories about India sometimes are (we do see some abuse of lower-caste characters here, but it isn’t A Fine Balance). And Seth creates a great sense of place and does an expert job of depicting Indian culture: this book is full of sights, sounds, foods, celebrations, religion, politics, and so on, all drawn in a way that an outside reader can understand, but without pausing the narrative to explain things to the reader. It’s not exoticized, I doubt it would seem simplified to those familiar with the culture, but the characters will seem familiar and relatable even to those who aren’t.So why not 5 stars? Well, I’m a hard grader, and I wouldn’t say the book made a deep impression on me; while it was a pleasure to read, I rarely thought about it at other times. And the writing, while good, is not spectacular.And now, because I read an almost-1500-page book, I feel entitled to some fannish commentary.Favorite characters: Pran and Savita. What wonderful, strong and interesting people. Oddly, given that they marry at the beginning of the book, I’m not entirely sure I like them together, but I did enjoy their hospital notes.Least favorite character: Maan. A selfish playboy whose moments of courage don’t compensate for the heedless damage he does to the lives of everyone around him.Favorite minor character: Dr. Ila Chattopadhyay. “Forceful” is an understatement.Favorite walk-ons: the fans of Amit. His readers come out with such hilariously bizarre non sequiturs that I have to think the author borrowed from his own experience. But though Amit is a writer and therefore in danger of becoming an author avatar, Seth doesn’t indulge him, and the character is as realistic as the others. Also, his major poem, “The Fever Bird,” is actually good, and how often can you say that about poetry included in a novel?Ultimately, a highly enjoyable book that I would certainly recommend. I kind of miss reading it (that'll happen when something really good takes you a month and a half). The good news: in 2016 Seth is publishing a sequel, set in the present day. You don’t hear “good news” and “sequel” together from me often, but I’m excited about this one.


This is a novel comparable to the great books of the best nineteenth century writers. It is epic in scope while managing to remaining intimate in all its rich detail. It's the story of an upper middle class family in India searching for a suitable boy to marry their daughter. The small details of Indian extended families and the intricate dance of caste and education, prospects and charm, set in modern Calcutta are so completely engaging you begin to feel like a member of the family.It is an enormous book. It's weight might alarm you, but if you loved Proust, you'll love Vikram Seth. He is, in my opinion, the modern Proust of India. I'm happy to say I have this book in First US edition, hard-bound with the original cover art, which is not available in the current editions. It's a beauty in every way.

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