This is perhaps the best book I have read in a long long time. Not only is Vikram Seth a great writer he is a wonderful student of human nature. The book starts with Mrs. Rupa Mehra intending to look for a suitable husband for her second daughter, Lata since her first daughter, Savita is happily married to Pran Kapoor. The book revolves around the fates of the Mehra family, the Kapoor family and Arun Mehra's in-laws the Chatterjees. Also present are the Tandons and the family of the Nawab of Baitar, Firoz and Imtiaz. A courtesan, Saeeda Begum plays an important role as does Kabir Durrani.Mrs. Mehra is frantic with worry that Lata will settle down with an unsuitable boy so she hurriedly looks for a suitable boy. Her search leads her to Haresh Khanna. There are three main contenders for Lata's hand, Haresh, Kabir, and Amit Chatterjee. The reader is constantly rooting for one or the other while the author spins a tale set in Post Independent India and around the first General Elections. The writer is remarkably knowledgeable and whatever he undertakes to describe has the stamp of authenticity. While his own English is exceptional, when he voices his characters they have a ring of reality. His fingers are on the pulse of the Hindus and Muslims and the ill-feeling between them and how various people exploit this ill feeling. Caste is not left untouched and it is amazing how he is aware of all the nuances affecting this issue. All in all an exceptional book.
Havent started it yet. Still debating if its worth the effort.
The library had only the paperback version, which was 1535 pages of small print. However, I read the rave reviews and looked forward to reading it. Immediately the reader is hit with a plethora of characters and it wasn't long before I was lost, so gave up.
Maybe i missed out on a good story, but the library and my kindle are full of terrific books which are a lot more reader-friendly than this book.
Don't let the size of the book let you back out; once you start its really difficult or almost impossible to stop. there may be a moment or 2 when you will be a little tempted to stop but there is something that keeps nagging you to go on. And the effort is worth it.
And by the time you are done you will almost feel you are living with all the characters and may actually miss them too.
With great insight and humour, this massive Booker Prize-winning novel presents the loves, ambitions and misfortunes of four families and dozens of other characters in the post-independence India of 1951/52. The author writes convincingly about national and provincial politics, Hindu spirituality, traditional Indian music and poetry, manufacturing and village life, and leaves the reader waiting for a sequel.
Quite a saga, but does it really need to be 1300 pages? Anyway, the novel remains entertaining and often enlightening for much of its length; a blend of Shakespeare and Jane Austen!
I was somewhat daunted when I saw the size of the book 1474 pages! But decided to read it anyway. Unfortunately the Indian names and so many characters made it too hard to follow the story. I needed to keep referring to the various family trees to sort it out. I just couldn't get into it,which is too bad because I really enjoy Indian music,dancing, documentaries,movies.
Seth begins by introducing us to Lata, a nineteen year old woman with a mother who is looking for a husband for her. The story expands to include a cross-section of the population of India in the 1950's just after separation and the establishment of Pakistan. It is the year of elections. Will the Congress party return to power, or will the factions split the vote. By the time the year is out, we are back full circle to Lata and her life. All the characters are both entertaining and interesting on the personal level, as well as quite revealing of the social group they represent. A very good story but you have to be determined to read it. At 1349 pages and with a lot of politics and a lot of characters thrown in, it is a challenge. I enjoyed it and had marathon reading sessions so I could finish it in two weeks.
My favorite novel about India. Well worth the time!
well portrayed characters; engrossing
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