April 05, 2011

A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth


A reading goal I have had for a few years now has finally been accomplished. This afternoon I finished A Suitable Boy after 3 months of (not constant) reading.

The question I am now left with is - was it worth it?

The short answer to that question would have to be "yes" but I think this book is so huge - in both length and depth that I feel my reading has not done it justice in so many ways. By this afternoon I just wanted to get the book read - I am looking forward to giving the space in my head over to some other reading now!

So many people rave about this book - and it is an incredible piece of writing - but as a novel for pleasure and entertainment it certainly wasn't perfect for me. I was in love with the beginning and end sections (although I have to say I didn't "like" the ending I could appreciate it - if that makes sense?!) but the overly large middle section did drag for me. The book is incredibly detailed (as you can imagine) and I certainly feel more informed about Indian politics and social history of this time period but I just wanted to engage further with the characters and although a certain amount of contextual information is required in order for this to happen I could have survived quite happily with a lot less!

An amazing piece of literature and I think when I have had some time to get some distance from it I will look back and be glad that I have read it.

13 comments:

verity said...

Wow - well done! It's such a huge book!

farmlanebooks said...

Congratulations! Thank you for letting me know your thoughts. I have wanted to read this for a while, but its size puts me off. I love learning about Indian politics etc so it is good to know that you are glad you made the effort to complete it. I will get there one day.

Nadia said...

Congrats! I've waited to add this one to my TBR list, because I wanted to find out what you thought of it. After reading your post, I think that I will add it to my list, but will put off reading it for some time. Thanks!

Buried In Print said...

Congrats on turning all those pages. And I do understand what you mean about appreciating an ending without liking it: I've had that experience too. Hope you enjoy the number of short books that you'll be gobbling up in the next while, to reward yourself for persevering with this one!

Audra said...

I've wanted to read Seth for a while and sort of had this book on my TBR as a result. I do like meaty books but haven't been in a place to sit down and dig in yet. Maybe later this summer...

Becky (Page Turners) said...

Well done. I tried to read this last year, but 3 weeks in and only a 1/3 of the book complete, I had to give it up. Don't get me wrong, the story was amazing, I was really loving the way the characters were developing and new one's were introduced, but it was just too long to be reading a book. I fell into a reading slump immediately after giving it up and couldn't read another book for a couple of weeks.

I am determined to finish it though because I was really enjoying the story.

JoAnn said...

My feelings, exactly. Congratulations!

Karen said...

Hi Verity - it is a huge book! I was actually starting to get a cramp from holding it up when I was reading in bed!

Hi Jackie - I think if you have an interest in Indian politics this one would definitely be of interest to you.

Hi Nadia - I'm so glad I have read it - but I definitely don't feel like reading any other huge books again too soon!

Hi Buried In Print - Oh I so am!!

Hi Audra - I think summer time would be the perfect time to start reading this one - that's when I started (feels like so long ago now!).

Hi Becky - I hope you get back to it one day. I had started it before too - I think the thing that helped me get through this time was reading other books at the same time. I don't think I would have made it to the end if this was the only book I was reading.

Hi JoAnn - Thanks! I have never thought it was much of an acomplishment just to finish reading a large book but I definitely felt a sense of achievement (and relief!) when I finished this one.

Tamara said...

Congrats on achieving your goal Karen. Some books I know I just wont get to in this lifetime, and I'm affraid this is one of then (sometimes sie does matter). But I'm very impressed you did it, even if it wasn't your cup of tea.. I wish I could do that sometimes.

Karen said...

Hi T - I think enough of it was my cup of tea to keep me going (although only just at times!)

Kate said...

Congrats on finishing it - I took a 24 hour plane journey plus some to get through it. I loved it but didn't think it came near his "Equal Music" - my all time favourite novel, perhaps because it brings my 2 passions of writing and classical music together.

Karen said...

Hi Kate - I totally agree with you, I loved Equal Music so much more.

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I loved Equal Music, and picked this one up right after. I couldn't finish it though - couldn't get past 100 pages or so. I was sixteen at the time, which might have had something to do with it, so based on your thoughts, I'm tempted to try it again...