1 September 2019 Susannah

‘A Suitable Boy’ TV Series

Andrew Davies is a name familiar to many of us from Sunday night TV. He is the BBC’s veteran adaptor of classic novels – he wrote the scripts for the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, House of Cards, Vanity Fair, War and Peace, Wives and Daughters, Bleak House and many more. He has recently been tackling a vast tome of a novel – A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth which is 1,394 pages. The BBC has just announced the cast for the new 6-part TV series and it will make history as the first South-Asian epic on mainstream British TV and the first to be made without a single British actor.

The coming series is being referred to as ‘the Crown in Brown’. Andrew Davies has loved working on the script (he describes the novel as ‘Austenesque’) and filming will begin in India soon. It will be directed by Mira Nair who directed Monsoon Wedding.

The novel was published in 1993 and it tells the stories of four families in post-partition India. It also discusses political issues, the question of caste, the decline of feudal families, reforms, and of course love. Vikram Seth did talk of a sequel called ‘A Suitable Girl’, due in 2017, but there has been no recent word of that.

I loved the novel and found it very hard to put down (I also loved Seth’s An Equal Music, which would make a good film too). It had humour, pathos, the turbulence of political change, and some memorable characters. Surely Mrs Rupa Mehra, the mother seeking a suitor for her daughter, is the modern Indian version of Mrs Bennet?

Have you read A Suitable Boy? Did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment to tell me.

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Featured image credit- https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-books-by-Indian-authors
Body image credit- Vikram Seth, by Amrhelweh, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40140142

Comments (12)

  1. Margi Abraham

    This news is so exciting! I love this novel too and always hoped it would be made into a film or tv series. It is a brick of a novel but I feel moved to read it again soon. I’m sure it will be a completely different experience to reading it from when I was young mother to now with grown sons. Like Jane Austen’s, great novels can be read with new eyes at any time in your life.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Doesn’t it make a difference what time in your life you read a particular novel! I think as the mother of marriageable children, you see things very differently from when you read as a romantic teenager. It will be exciting when the film version is made. Let’s discuss once we’ve seen it.

  2. Brian Doyle

    Hmm
    With books stacked up to the ceiling I don’t think you’ll have time to read this epic novel again Margi dearest or the strength to hold it up. Such a great book one hopes six episodes is enough.

  3. Susannah Fullerton

    Who needs to lift weights when there’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ to hold up and read?

  4. Brian Doyle

    A friend of mine gave birth to a suitable boy four weeks ago and she is still trying to read him and he weighs less than the book. Have just finished Bess of Hardwick by Mary S Lovell, what an incredible woman, a highly recommended read if you haven’t had the pleasure Susannah, a series was made in I think 1976 now lost so it’s an email to Andrew Davies with a request.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I love Mary S Lovell’s books, but have not read the one about Bess. I must get a copy because I do enjoy her writing. Nor did I know a film had been made of it – that should be lovely to watch!

      • Brian Doyle

        Neither of us will ever see the film Susannah as the BBC have of course destroyed it, five years in the writing the book is superbly written, after Elizabeth 1 Bess was the richest woman in the land, she was a friend to the Queen and Mary’s jailor for 15 years and it’s a brilliant companion book to read with Jane Dunn’s Elizabeth and Mary. Bess was a great builder Chatsworth being one of her projects when she married the duke her second husband. Hardwick Hall still remains as she built and furnished it from the ground up and is now run by the national trust, a must visit especially after you read about it. Not sure if the book is still in print , there is a hardback copy at Thrift Books which is where I purchased mine. The authors husband is distantly related to Bess hence her interest in writing the book. Another remarkable woman’s story just waiting to be re told on film, Olivia Coleman would be so perfect.

        • Susannah Fullerton

          Yes, Olivia Colman would be fabulous in the role. It does sound like a movie just waiting for someone to make it. I have driven past Hardwick in a coach but never been inside. I really need more time in the UK. Thanks for the info, Brian and I’ll see about finding a copy of the book when I’m back from my next trip.

  5. Brian Doyle

    If not you know where to borrow one. Have just read a fascinating book, Gluck about an artist I’ve never heard of, written by Dianna Souhamii who I did no, $3 at Vinnies what a find, look her up Susannah if your not in the picture.

  6. Susannah Fullerton

    It should be good! Have you been watching Sanditon? I’ve heard very mixed reports of it.

  7. Susannah Fullerton

    It is a wonderful book, isn’t it. I just hope they do a faithful and good job with the film version.

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