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A Suitable Boy: Part 3 (Final review)

After three months, A Suitable Boy readalong journey has come to an end.

My previous 2 reviews has written a positive and promising read of the book:

A Suitable Boy : Part 1
A Suitable Boy : Part 2

Part 3 opens with the Congress party facing a crisis. Nehru threatened to resign and Mahesh Kapoor has seceded from his Congress party and is encouraged to rally for vote from his rural constitution Rudhia. Seth displays his political awareness and prowess in weaving a web of deceipt and political debate about the fate of the newly independent India. With what is perceived an indecisive Nehru at the helm, the country is politically and religiously divide. Every matter is seen in terms of Hindus and Muslims, of collective guilt and collective revenge. “So successfully indeed had the two-nation theory – the Muslim League’s justification for Partition – taken root in their own minds that they saw Muslim citizens of India as Muslims first and Indians only incidentally; and were willing to visit upon their heads punishment for the actions of their co-religionists in the other country.” – page 955

This revenge is the plot behind the most breathtaking account in part 3, as Maan and Firoz was caught in a religious riot and cornered at Hindu neighbour where Firoz’s life is hung by the thread. Will he live or will he be hacked?

Tony’s Reading list is a big fan of this book. True to his words, the story, similar to part 2 of the Dussehra festival tragedy, build up gradually, like branches of river streams converge to become a gushing river and culminates into a massive waterfall!

My favourite part of the story besides Lata’s quest in search for the suitable boy was the friendship between Maan and Firoz. They were like brothers. They were genuinely fond of each other. A hope for amicable relations between differing religions. Their friendship was very believable. By the middle of the book something dramatic and tragic happened. The strong bond and friendship of the Kapoor and Khan families, between Maan and Firoz, is put to test. Leading up to the Grand Election 1952, the Kapoor and Khan families need to stand together more than ever.

The final part of the story is a bit dark and there was death and sadness. Murder, dirty politics, deluded individual showing up in the plot. The three candidates of Lata’s suitable boys represent different aspects of love: Kabir, Lata’s true love; Amit, stimulates Lata intellectually; Kabir, the grounded and sincere one. Although it is obvious for me who the best boy would be for Lata, it still come as a slight surprise that Lata has accepted him wholeheartedly. There is a lesson to be learned here. I am so proud of Lata. She is very sensible and her choice tells me that it isn’t always about following your heart. There are other considerations for other people that will impact by her choice, for example: her family and community.

Slight worry for some who do not like politics, there is plenty in A Suitable Boy. If you can appreciate that the politics set the scenes and is the backbone that affects the lives of these families, it gives this story of what would be a mere hunt for a suitable boy into something a lot more depth. It is a long book but it is worth it.

I like to record a special thanks to Sam@tiny library for accompanying me on this three-month journey. I know it has not always been easy to read this, thanks for sticking with it Sam.

A Suitable Girl is due to be published some time next year. Can Vikram Seth pull A Suitable Girl off? I’m sure he will!



About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


24 thoughts on “A Suitable Boy: Part 3 (Final review)

  1. I have this tome and it’s encouraging to see such a positive review. I’m a one book reader though and a book of this length… would take me absolutely ages!!

    Posted by Fiona | October 22, 2012, 10:10 pm
    • Fiona,
      If you read along with me we would have broken this down into chewable chunks that spread across 3 months. Less taxing, keeping the book fresh, and no rush! It is a great book.

      Posted by JoV | October 22, 2012, 10:15 pm
  2. So glad that you loved this! I am still hoping to start this later this year or so … Some good vacation time is what I need!

    Posted by Athira | October 22, 2012, 10:39 pm
  3. Yay! Well done 🙂

    Here’s hoping the sequel appears sooner, rather than later – and, of course, that it’s just as good!

    Posted by Tony | October 23, 2012, 2:50 am
  4. So good to hear you loved it! It’s one of my most favourite books ever, am awed at the vastness and depth of it, on every level. Looking forward to A Suitable Girl, crossing fingers that it doesn’t disappoint. It has BIG shoes to fill!

    Posted by claire | October 23, 2012, 3:12 am
  5. One day I will read this book. Its been on my “must read sometime” list for quite a few years now. But its sooooo long isn’t it. Its been interesting to read your progress and I admire your persistence!

    Posted by acommonreaderuk | October 23, 2012, 7:20 am
    • A Common Reader,
      Thanks. It does seem to be in everyone’s “Must read sometime” list but it’s amazing that when Sam and I set out to read this, it looks really daunting but it is a big high when we finished this. Worth the while. Thanks for following our reading progress!

      Posted by JoV | October 23, 2012, 7:08 pm
  6. Well done JoV 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | October 23, 2012, 7:45 am
  7. It’s interesting how much you approved of Lata’s choice and how much I didn’t! I think that she shouldn’t have chosen based just on her head, as her heart has to live in that marriage too and Amit seemed more of a compromise between the two. We clearly have different backgrounds and expectations about marriage/relationships?

    There was a lot of politics in this part but I found it more interesting than all the small village stuff. I was quite fond of Mahesh Kapoor and wanted things to work out for him.

    I can’t believe we have finally finished this book 🙂

    Posted by Sam (Tiny Library) | October 23, 2012, 6:08 pm
    • Sam,
      I’m in my middle ages, on hindsight I think making choices with a bit of the head wouldn’t hurt. I don’t like Amit as I still think he is selfish. Selfish men is the biggest turn off in my opinion.

      I’m not really fond of Mahesh. I thought he should have treated his wife better.

      YES! we finally finished the book. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | October 23, 2012, 7:01 pm
  8. This one will have to wait till the summer holidays! I saw it in the library today and it’s a real hefty read.

    Posted by mywordlyobsessions | October 25, 2012, 9:23 pm
  9. Wow! You finished this magnum opus! And I didn’t know that a Suitable Girl is in the offing! Wonderful review Jo – as always.

    Posted by Soul Muser | October 26, 2012, 9:15 am
  10. Hi Jo, I’ve actually been doing the readathon too: http://www.tolstoyismycat.com/2012/10/a-suitable-boy-readathon-final-post.html Great final post!

    Posted by Lyndsay Wheble | October 29, 2012, 12:36 pm
  11. Have this, but have yet to read it.

    Posted by Parrish | December 10, 2012, 9:05 pm
  12. Hi JoV, I am glad you read this book. Have a look at my impressions of the novel. I am not as prolific a reader as you are. http://danappiah007.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/a-review-of-vikram-seths-a-suitable-boy-1993/

    Posted by CanTHeeRava | February 6, 2013, 11:50 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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