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