The book is 1,360 pages long and weighs 4 pounds 9 ounces. (Please can someone else convert that to kilos because I've failed every maths exam that life has ever thrown at me!) Anyway, about as much as a six-pack of beer or a chihuhua dog.
But what really made me smile was this comment on Khitabkhana's entry about the book:
It is an incredibly sad moment for the 25-year old history of Indian Literature. Our reigning champion, our soap-operatic gift to humanity, our Suitable Boy, has been beaten by bloody eleven pages. This evidently is a colonial conspiracy.Vikram Seth urges his readers in his A Word of Thanks poem at the beginning of the book:
Buy me before good sense insists
You'll strain your purse and strain your wrists.
If I was ever told that I was going to be marooned on a desert island and could only take then books with me, for sure this would be one. Even if it weighed more than everything else in my luggage combined.
I read the book in a week when I had shingles and I was so totally engrossed that I couldn't bear to come back to the "real world".
Of course, the question that keeps the pages turning is who will Lata marry in the end? Will her head or her heart govern her choice? I'm a romantic and wanted the former, my colleagues all argued that it should be the latter because Lata is Asian, and therefore pragmatic, after all. Of course Seth (the rascal!), keeps us guessing right to the end.
And I was open-mouthed in awe at the way that Seth juggles a cast of characters larger than I'd ever have thought possible (there's someone new on almost every page!) embracing a huge sweep of society. I felt as if I had been in India for that week.
The book is way too short. Perhaps that sequel is called for!