Mittwoch, 25. Juni 2008
Vikram Seth - A suitable Boy
Set in the post-colonial India of the 1950s, this sprawling saga involves four families--the Mehras, the Kapoors, the Chatterjis and the Khans--whose domestic crises illuminate the historical and social events of the era. Like an old-fashioned soap opera (or a Bombay talkie), the multi-charactered plot pits mothers against daughters, fathers against sons, Hindus against Muslims and small farmers against greedy landowners facing government-ordered dispossession. The story revolves around independent-minded Lata Mehra: Will she defy the stern order of her widowed upper-caste Hindu mother by marrying the Muslim youth she loves? The search for Lata's husband expands into a richly detailed and exotically vivid narrative that crisscrosses the fabric of India. Seth's panoramic scenes take the reader into law courts, religious processions, bloody riots, academia--even the shoe trade. Portraits of actual figures are incisive; the cameo of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, for example, captures his high-minded, well-meaning indecision.
With more than 1900 pages this was the greatest tome I have ever read.
Because of my studies I was not able to read it within a short time (this is really possible, I am sure). This wonderful novel, the many interesting and authentic characters accompanied me through months. When I finally finished the book, I really started missing the persons.
Seth's novel is unique written. I became curious about it, and finally bought it, because wonderful author Sharon Maas (Of Marriageable Age) told at her homepage that she loves Seth's book.
I have to say, this is not just a novel. It is a journey. The characters not only accompanied me, I also accompanied them. It was interesting to see them grow in such an authentic way. First I could not understand Lata's decision in the end, but after thinking about it, it was the right decision for her.
I have never read a book telling about the lifes of so many people. It was such a great experience. Each person was described wonderful and I was looking forward to each storyline.
The novel not only tells about realistic characters, also about the Indian culture, history and politics. The last one was maybe a bit too much presented, but that is a matter of taste. Politics were so important to understand the background of some of the storylines, so they could not have missed.
After writing so much I only have to say: If you love authentic family sagas and India you really have to read this novel. Let Mrs. Rupa Mehra, Maan, Lata, Malati, Firoz and the many others in your life!