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Encyclopedia > A Suitable Boy
A Suitable Boy
UK edition book cover
Author Vikram Seth
Country India
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher HarperCollins (USA), Phoenix House (UK)
Released 1 March 1994
Media type Print (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages 1349
ISBN ISBN 0-06-017012-3

A Suitable Boy is a novel by Vikram Seth. At 1349 pages (1488 pages softcover) and 591,552 words, the book is one of the longest novels ever published in the English language.[1][2]. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Vikram Seth (pronounced ), born June 20, 1952 is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, childrens writer, biographer and memoirist. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. ... The Orion Publishing Group Ltd. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Vikram Seth (pronounced ), born June 20, 1952 is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, childrens writer, biographer and memoirist. ... // Illustrated fantasy novel manuscript typed single-spaced with 15,145 pages in 10 volumes. ...

Contents

Plot introduction

A Suitable Boy is set in post-independent, post-partitioned India. The novel follows the story of four families over a period of 18 months as a mother searches for a suitable boy to marry her daughter. The Indian independence movement incorporated the efforts by Indians to liberate the region from British rule and form the nation-state of India. ... Britains holdings on the Indian subcontinent were granted independence in 1947 and 1948, becoming four new independent states: India, Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and Pakistan (including East Pakistan, modern-day Bangladesh). ...


Plot summary

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The novel begins with Mrs. Rupa Mehra declaring "You too will marry a boy I choose" to her daughter Lata at the occasion of the wedding of Mrs. Mehra's elder daughter Savita in the city of Brahmpur, the capital of the fictitious state of Purva Pradesh. Rupa is determined to marry off her daughter whereas Lata decides that she does not want to have an arranged marriage. She falls in love with Kabir, a Muslim boy studying in her college. (The connotations of his name are significant.) This causes her to have a fight with her mother as inter-religion affairs were considered to be taboo. The incident causes Mrs. Mehra to take Lata to Calcutta to live with the Chatterjis. There Lata befriends Amit Chatterji, a writer. Ultimately, Lata decides to marry her mother's choice, Haresh - a self-made businessman. An arranged marriage is a marriage that is established before involving oneself in a lengthy relationship, and often involves the arrangement of someone else other than the person getting married. ... A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Turkish: Müslüman, Persian and Urdu: مسلمان, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of Islam. ... Depiction of saint Kabir on the cover of a Hindi magazine named Shree Kabir Gyanamrit Kabīr (also Kabīra) (Hindi: कबीर, Gurmukhī: ਕਬੀਰ, Urdu: ‎) (1398—1397)[ — see talk page] was an Indian mystic; a Bhakti saint, a contemporary of Guru Nanak Dev, who sang the ideals of seeing all of humanity... This article is on Calcutta/Kolkata, the city. ...


Though the main theme of the book revolves around Mrs. Mehra and Lata, the story also sees each of the characters in their own set of problems. As the story progresses we see various events of post-independence Indian history affecting the lives of the characters in the book. The novel deals with social issues like Hindu-Muslim strife, land reforms and the Zamindari system, and state and national politics. Land reform (also agrarian reform, though that can have a broader meaning) is an often-controversial type of government-initiated or government-backed real estate property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. ... Zamindar, also known as Zemindar, Zamindari, or the Zamindari System (Persian: زمیندار) were employed by the Mughals to collect taxes from peasants. ...


Characters in A Suitable Boy

The four main families mentioned in the novel are:


The Mehras - Mrs. Rupa Mehra, a mother searching for a suitable boy for her daughter. Arun, Savita, Varun and Lata - Mrs. Mehra's four children. Arun is married to Meenakshi Chatterji, Savita to Pran Kapoor.


The Kapoors - Mr. Mahesh Kapoor, Mrs. Mahesh Kapoor and their 3 children Veena, Pran and Maan.


The Khans - Nawab Sahib of Baitar and his 3 children Zainab, Imtiaz and Firoz.


The Chatterjis - Mr. Justice Chatterji and Mrs. Chatterji and their children Amit, Meenakshi, Dipankar, Kakoli and Tapan

Spoilers end here.

Awards and nominations

1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... The Commonwealth Writers Prize was established in 1987. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... The WH Smith Literary Award is an award founded in 1959 by British high street retailer WH Smith. ...

See also

The Golden Gate (1986) is author/poet Vikram Seths first novel. ... (An excellent book. ... Vikram Seth’s second non-fiction work, Two Lives is the story of a century and of a love affair across an ethnic divide. ...

External links

  • A Suitable Boy on amazon.com
  • Author interview with Vikram Seth at HarperCollins

Further reading

  • Agarwalla, Shyam S. (1995). Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy : Search for an Indian Identity. Prestige. ISBN 81-85218-97-8. 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Steven Wu's Book Reviews: A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth) (630 words)
A Suitable Boy is the story of several Indian families whose paths intersect continually over a period of about a year.
But, as the title suggests, A Suitable Boy never strays far from the subject of love and marriage--indeed, the book both begins and ends with weddings.
Basically, A Suitable Boy is a deftly written and extremely slow book that would have been wonderful--if it weren't so damnably long.
A Suitable Boy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (386 words)
A Suitable Boy is a novel by Vikram Seth.
The novel follows the story of four families over a period of 18 months as a mother searches for a suitable boy to marry her daughter.
Rupa is determined to marry off her daughter whereas Lata decides that she does not want to have an arranged marriage.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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