Reading lists

Books you’ll love if you’re enjoying A Suitable Boy

The BBC's Bollywood star-studded adaptation of Vikram Seth's 1993 coming-of-age family saga has arrived. Here's some suggested reading if you're a fan.

Image: BBC
Image: BBC

On Sunday, the BBC aired its first episode of the highly anticipated adaptation of Vikram Seth's panoramic novel A Suitable Boy – the corporation's first period drama with an entirely south Asian cast.

Set in north India in 1951, it tells the story of a mother's mission to find “a suitable boy” to marry her vivacious, free-thinking student daughter in the years following Indian independence. Told through the prism of a nation struggling through a time of intense change (and no small amount of internal conflict), it is a family saga about love, nationhood and growing up as we witness the shifting fortunes of four large families navigating this crucial point in India's history.

If you enjoyed the first episode - the critics certainly did - and are itching for more, we've got you covered. Here, from Anita Desai to Salman Rushdie, are five books about families, India, marriage and all the rest, to keep you going as the series moves on.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2013)

Crazy Rich Asians is not set in India, but in Singapore. But love, marriage, tradition and the changing gears of modernity are the flavour of Kevin Kwan's hilarious social satire. The story follows three wealthy Chinese families - the Youngs, Shangs and T'siens - whose lives converge for the high-society wedding of the year.

Nick Young is heir to one of the wealthiest families in Asia. Not that his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend Rachel has any idea. He's kept his mega-wealth secret. Until, that is, he invites her to the wedding of his best pal, Colin Khoo, whereupon Rachel is thrown into a world of private islands, palaces and jets.

What follows is a story that's as jaw-achingly funny as it is jaw-droppingly absurd – a carnival of life among the world's one percent that drips with as much family drama as its insuperable matriarchs do pearls.

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