Waiting On Wednesday [A Suitable Girl]

Waiting On Wednesday is currently hosted by Wishful Endings, and was previously hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Image (c) goodreads.com

This is the first time I’ve done this particular list. I don’t often carefully follow up with series’ or books I’m really looking forward to reading. Books are expensive and when they’re just released they tend to be a little more so (or at least in my country), especially when they’re out in hardcover first. So I find it’s easier to forget about them till it comes to a time when I can actually practically afford to buy the thing. But some books just stay in your head.

Lately, this one’s been in my head a lot, because a friend of mine just finished reading Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy and we’ve been constantly discussing it ever since. It’s Seth’s 1400+ page magnum opus about a cluster of families and their variable issues – some small, some big – in the political and religious tumult of post-independence India. The much-anticipated sequel, A Suitable Girl, has been talked of for the past couple months (maybe further back) but who knows when we’re actually going to see it in print. I know a lot of people here are quite excited, I definitely am – though it’ll probably take me two weeks to finish it.

A Suitable Girl

Author: Vikram Seth
Expected Publication: 10th Jan, 2019 (but who the hell actually knows)
Publisher: Orion

As per available news, A Suitable Girl is what Seth called a “jump sequel” set in the modern times, as opposed to A Suitable Boy which was published in ’93 and set in the 1950s. There’s not been much else about it really; it was supposed to be published several years ago (maybe around 2013) but Seth met with writer’s block and then had some personal issues as well as contractual issues (with Penguin). Apparently A Suitable Girl is supposed to deal with Lata Mehra’s (a major character in A Suitable Boy) search for a match for her grandson. It sounds like a romance-and-marriage novel but if you’ve read A Suitable Boy you’ll know that it deals with really everything under the sun, from government, politics and voting to families on various points in the economic strata and marriage deals, from religious strife and friendship to grief and young love, from internal family politics to…well I could go on forever. It really is an epic novel in that sense.

I think my hopes are definitely high for A Suitable Girl, definitely I can’t fault Seth’s writing or his immaculate way of capturing the voices of several generations in one go. But since this is a more modern sequel, I definitely hope that marginalised characters (women, the poor, those from the so-called ‘lower’ castes, etc) will be able to find some more agency and that will be spotlighted. India as a country today is a multitude of contradictions, and it’s definitely going to be a challenge to capture that, but we’ve come a long way from the 1950s for sure.

17 Replies to “Waiting On Wednesday [A Suitable Girl]”

  1. This sounds like it will be quite a book when it finally gets published. It sounds like it’s almost too much for one book to cover and that may be the author’s problem. I hope it does come out in January and that you get to read it soon after.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Goodness – that’s a brick of a book! But how exciting when there is a follow-up to something that you have loved very much… and something of a risk, though I take it your friend very much enjoyed it. I’m always wary of sequels to books I’ve very much enjoyed if a long time has elapsed between them in case it is a disappointment which will then infect my enjoyment of the first book. I hope you really love this one when you get your hands on it:)

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    1. It’s quite brickish indeed, haha! Yes, the sequel’s a tricky thing isn’t it? Anyway I often have to reread the previous book to be able to read the sequel properly, that’s the one thing I dislike about series’, so in that sense it does affect enjoyment. I’m pretty sure this is one of those that can be read as a standalone though. Thanks! I hope I do, but I try to be realistic with expectations like these!

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      1. Yes – I think you’re braver than I am. If I really LOVED the first book and the time has elapsed so that I look back really fondly on the memory, then I won’t endanger it… But that could simply be because I’ve reached a certain stage in my life where there are more memories behind me than ahead of me and I’ve become rather protective of them!

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      2. That’s fair enough! Although I think if you really love a book the sequel can naturally be seen as a separate entity and won’t really affect your feelings about the first one so much? Maybe. You can’t exactly stop making memories, it’s good to have things to look forward to, perhaps. All speculation on my part.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes… Perhaps you’re right. I think it all depends on the book and circumstances in which I read it – in the very best cases, I was reading an outstanding book during a particularly memorable time – the best holiday of my life so far when I read ‘I Claudius’ for instance…

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  3. I had kind of forgotten about A Suitable Boy, which I’ve known about for years. Yes, it’s long, but I have heard such good things. Having a sequel might be the thing I need to push me to read it. Thanks for featuring both these books!

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  4. A Suitable Boy is one of those books I’ve always heard great things about and want to read but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet. That’s exciting for you that it will have a sequel of sorts though. Hopefully you won’t have to wait much longer for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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