A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
There are way too many wonderful books in the world and not enough time to read them all. If I'm going to invest my valuable reading time into reading a 1500-page book that book better have one hell of plot or be written so well that I continue to read only to marvel at the author's wonderful use of the English language. This book does neither. The storyline moves incredibly slowly. I finished the first two sections and the story still hadn't gone anywhere. The prose is pretty bad. Seth feels the desire to pack each section of the book with unnecessary details that do nothing to further the storyline. Despite his desire to describe any and everything under the Indian sun, he does not extend this wonderful use of detail to his characters. Often times the characters are characterized by exposition instead of in scene. He tells more than he shows. He even tells while he's showing. For instance when we first meet Rupa Mehra's father we're literally told over and over again in the exposition how short-tempered and tyrannical he is even though his actions in the scene clearly show us that. I also felt that he overused his thesaurus. He really liked to use big 10pt SAT words throughout the piece not because it fit his prose style but because it made it seem as if he had a big vocabulary.I did feel that whenever Seth did resort to actual scenes of dialogue and action that the prose became a lot cleaner and the story actually became somewhat interesting. (Loved the scene where Pran argues for permission to make James Joyce a part of the university curriculum) However, I'm not willing to trudge through all the unnecessary exposition just to get to these moments. I don't need to finish the book to tell that it probably should have been a few thousand pages shorter than it is.