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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Mira Nair’s BBC series A Suitable Boy premieres: What is the Vikram Seth novel about?

Published in 1993 and running for 1,349 pages, the book is considered to be one of the longest novels

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
July 27, 2020 7:14:48 pm
Mira Nair A Suitable Boy BBC series A Suitable Boy has been adapted by Mira Nair as a miniseries. (Photo: Tanya Maniktala/Instagram)

Vikram Seth’s sprawling novel, A Suitable Boy has been adapted by Mira Nair as a miniseries for BBC One. The first episode (among six) premiered yesterday, and the reviews have been largely favourable. For those in India, the wait will be longer as it will stream on Netflix later.

Published in 1993 and running for 1,349 pages, Seth’s work is considered to be one of the longest novels. Set during 1950s and located in the fictional town of Brahmpur, it centres around the protagonist Lata and unfolds against an India carrying the wounds of Partition and merit of Independence. Much like the country, Lata is young and her mother Rupa Mehra is looking for a suitable boy for her. What follows is immersive and engaging portrait of a family, relationships and suitors, their story calibrated by ambition, love and loss.

ALSO READ | A Suitable Boy review round-up: Mira Nair’s BBC miniseries premieres to glowing reception

The novel is considered one of the most formidable and influential, its scale causing it to being compared even to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, while some likened his work to George Eliot and Goethe. In the article, A Tolstoy — On His First Try, on Washington Post, culture writer Eugene Robinson had interviewed the otherwise reclusive author. “I’ve been doing 10 or 12 interviews a day, radio, television, and then readings with questions afterwards,” he said. “By the end of it, I … well, I don’t think I’ll ever allow that to happen to me again. I didn’t expect the kind of attention that the book received. I didn’t expect to be worked so hard,” the author had said in 1993.

ALSO READ | It is a massive yet intimate saga: Mira Nair ahead of A Suitable Boy premiere

The author is working on the sequel.

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