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Summary

The international best seller and modern classic: now a major TV series.

One of the BBC's 100 novels that shaped our world.

A modern classic, this epic tale of families, romance and political intrigue, set in India, never loses its power to delight and enchant listeners.

At its core, A Suitable Boy is a love story: the tale of Lata - and her mother's - attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. At the same time, it is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world's population faces its first great general election and the chance to map its own destiny. 

©1993 Vikram Seth (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"A phenomenon, a prodigy, a marvel." (Evening Standard

"Seth is the best writer of his generation." (The Times)

"Fiction on a grand scale. By the time you reach the last page you will have absorbed a splendid story, full of the tangle and perfume of India." (Sunday Telegraph)

What listeners say about A Suitable Boy

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An absolute delight

Not only is the book a cracking read but Sagar Arya has done absolute justice by brilliantly delivering the book. I’m having withdrawal symptoms already

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Perfect in every way

I read this book a few years after it came out and loved it. In fact it stayed with me all those years as “one of my favourite books”, although listening to it now, I realised that there were large parts of the book which I did not remember. I was really looking forward to the audio book and was not disappointed. The book stands in the first line with some of the greatest family sagas, the characters, relationships and the portrayal of historical events are all captivating and I am afraid I have not been paying much attention to my real family in the last couple of weeks while listening. The narration is wonderful, could not ask for more.

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Every second a joy

I have just finished listening to this wonderful, brilliant audiobook. 68 hours and 44 mins and not one second too long. I have tried to read the paperback version several times but have given up simply because it was too heavy to hold for long periods! I begged Audible to produce an audio version for years and at last, after the TV series, my wish was granted.
It covers family relationships, friendships, political and historical subjects and all weaved within fictional stories so real that I felt I was in the novel itself. Set in 1951 in the newly independent India, it is about family duty, religious prejudice, loyalty, sacrifice and so much more. There is humour, tension and tragedy in this book. In fact, everything that is in real life with characters that live, breathe, suffer, enjoy happiness, love, hate.
I felt irritated with Mrs Rupa Mehra for most of the time; I grew with Maan, from being an irresponsible youth to a feeling, caring and ultimately suffering young man; I wanted to shake Lata (won't say why for fear of spoiler). I loved Firoz who, to me was just as perfect as anyone can be and I looked forward to Arun's arrogance to be squashed.
The narration was simply perfect. Sagar Arya’s different voices for each person enhanced Vikram Seth’s already dazzling cast of characters.
This goes to the top of my favourite books ever.

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An absolute pleasure.

I had waited so long for this wonderful book to be recorded for Audible, it was well worth the wait.
I loved every minute and will listen to it again after my next book.

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Excellently narrated

Wonderful story aid interwoven characters in post partition India.
The story telling is evocative and the narration is perfect.

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Fabulous!

68 hours long! I hesitated to buy A Suitable Boy because it's so long but I enjoyed every minute and was sorry when it finished. Totally amazing. A feast for the ears!

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Feeling sad it’s finished..

Brilliant.. just loved every minute, the best story and so well read , make time for it

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A marvel

Wonderfully written and narrated.. a saga of regular life and people . a marvel of a book.

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Fabulous

This epic novel of post partition India is nearly 70 hours long and kept me enthralled. It is loosely based around Lata’s search for a husband by her neurotic mother but follows the stories of three families and countless other characters. From Nehru to the the lowest untouchable. The pace rarely lets up. One of the best novels I have listened to and the best value for one credit. Bring on A Suitable Girl!

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Just Stunning

Tolstoy's sweep with Jane Austen's marriage concerns! That does not do this book justice because it is its own thing. It is so long that you have to set aside your idea of a novel taking a few days or weeks. I listened on my daily walk and so it took over two months but it was so worth it as you just come to feel and love so many of the characters. Also, while it may seem to be about finding a suitable heterosexual partner, it has a number of gay characters (omitted in the TV series) and it makes manifest the gentle, deep, and unbreakable love between Maan and Firouz. Sagar Arya is the perfect narrator.

When I first read other people saying that 67 plus hours was too short, I thought they might be crazy. But they were right.