Anyone who would have the courage to pick up a massive 1500 page book would be doing so having some kind of a belief that it would be worth all the time and efforts put in, as was the case with me.
I liked the plot and was expecting to have a great time turning the pages, but sadly it was a big let down.
The book is more like a scripted version ready for the likes of Sanjay Leela Bhansali to be made out into a movie. All it needs is a few songs and dances and lo and behold you have a ready made screenplay at your disposal. Having said that, I am actually surprised why it hasn’t been done so far? Probably even Mr. Bhansali would wan’t it to be short and relavant.
The plot is great, to look for a suitable boy for a young girl and her mother’s concerns and search regarding the same.
And in this search Vikram Seth has involved and included every tiny being who was living at the time on the face of the Earth.
Everything that happened to everyone, even the trees outside has been explained in so much detail that the entire sense is lost in the mundaneness of it.
And then the four families, it’s hard to understand the genealogies and who is who because there are so many whos in the story who have no business being there.
Why was it necessary for us to know about Saeeda Bai and her secret love affair, why was it required to know about the infidelities of Lata’s sister in law, why the entire story about Maan or even Pran, why so much discussion on politics, music and elections I mean WHY??
In all this the real story of Lata and who she would find suitable for herself is so lost that you wouldn’t even know when that part came and where it went. And even Lata isn’t interesting enough, there was more life and vivacity in her friend Malati than was ever seen in her.
The book is too many pages too long for it to be comprehensible and confined to what its plot should be and requires a good editor to chop off all the senselessness of the characters that make it teether on the verge of madness.
Completing it is a big pat on the back and liking it is like asking back for the lost time that went into reading it(Almost impossible).