“An Equal Music” by Vikram Seth

A dear friend of mine highly recommended A Suitable Boy to me many years ago. I was suspicious of its length, and put it off for years. Finally in 2007 I had a long stretch of time so I decided to dip my toe into A Suitable Boy and see what happened. A few weeks later, I came up for air, disappointed to be leaving the characters I’d come to love and admire.

Since then, I’d meant to read Seth’s shorter novel, An Equal Music, so when a book group member suggested it recently, I was excited for the opportunity. Then I began the book. I waited for it to involve me. And waited. Asked other friends in the book group what their experience had been. They said it took a while to get into it. I kept reading. But my dislike of the narrator, a self-involved violinist pining for the girlfriend of youth, only grew. When the past love was introduced, neither did I care for her. When something was revealed about her, I was told it was tragic and horrible; I never felt this.

The only thing I felt as I read this novel was a sense of duty to the members of my book group to continue to the end. Which I did. And was glad, very glad, to close that book and leave it behind. I found it dreary and uninteresting. I do look forward to our discussion of the book, to hear what other readers found and felt where I did not. If you, like me, disliked this book, do not let it deter you from A Suitable Boy, which I continue to hold dear, even if one character married THE WRONG PERSON, which I’m still angry about, years later.

3 Responses to ““An Equal Music” by Vikram Seth”

  1. Jennifer Reese Says:

    Nothing makes me want to read a book more than a line like this: A few weeks later, I came up for air, disappointed to be leaving the characters I’d come to love and admire.

  2. Farrar Says:

    Oh, I agree with every word. And why can’t Vikram Seth write another good book? A Suitable Boy was so perfect, even with the wrong ending. I did read and find sort of interesting his book Two Lives about his uncle. But it was hardly the passion I felt for A Suitable Boy.

  3. girldetective Says:

    I think the others in my book group liked it, so it’ll be interesting to talk about. The other thing that nagged at me is how absurd the in-between technology of 1999 was, with them faxing one another all the time, and with no acknowledgement of email or cell phones which weren’t ubiquitous, but they weren’t worthy of no comment, either.