A Suitable Boy (Dramatised)

Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (277 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, 1993
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, 1994
Winner of the WH Smith Literary Award, 1994

A Suitable Boy is now a major 2020 BBC TV series and one of the BBC's 100 novels that shaped our world.

The award-winning BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Vikram Seth's masterpiece.

A Suitable Boy is Vikram Seth's epic love story set in India. Funny and tragic, with engaging, brilliantly observed characters, it is as close as you can get to Dickens for the 20th century. 

The story unfolds through four middle-class families - the Mehras, Kapoors, Khans and Chatterjis. Lata Mehra, a university student, is under pressure from her mother to get married. But not to just anyone she happens to fall in love with. There are standards to be met and finding a husband for Lata becomes a family affair in which all the members are to play a part. The characters struggle, they try to buck the system, to break free of restraint, of interference - but ultimately their strength and sense of being comes from their family and friends. It is a celebration of ordinariness; a beautifully composed story that is an affirmation of family and friendship.

In his sweeping epic, Vikram Seth has created an entire world filled with warmth, humour, pathos, tragedy - in short, life. Recorded on location in India, A Suitable Boy is made by the production team behind the award-winning Bleak House and The Handmaid's Tale.

Dramatised and directed by John Dryden. A Goldhawk Production.

©2002, 2003 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2002, 2003 BBC Worldwide Ltd

Critic Reviews

"The drama highlight of the year... this sumptuous production, wonderfully atmospheric, written with pace and performed, by an all-Indian cast, quite superbly. The novel may be vast but I was convinced by this version right from the start. Magnificent drama." (Radio Times)

What listeners say about A Suitable Boy (Dramatised)

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

would prefer unabridged naration

It is my own fault because I didn't know what dramatized meant, but it turns out I don't like that format. I would MUCH prefer the actual book being READ. I don't like the background sound effects. I will probably come back to this one at some point, after I have run out of other things to listen to, but I personally MUCH prefer actual reading of the unabridged book. I wish I had not purchased this now, as I will ultimately need to buy it again as a BOOK. but again, my own fault.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A wonderful drama

I read this book as a teenager after it was nominated for the Booker prize. This book is one of my all time favourites but is enormous and took me a few months to finish. This adaptation greatly shortens the original but really captures the story of Lata and her journey to finding a husband. The actors and actresses were all excellent and I thoroughly recommend this audiodrama.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Short, but good charectors

The charectors were all very well potrayed. The version is too short however to encapsulate vikram seths original book which is very thick. The build up to charectors hence is too short to enjoy the story and the chapters change rather abruptly and sometimes hard to follow.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Dramatization

I never expected to find an audiobook so interesting. With the clear play of music at the appropriate times, listening to the audiobook is as refreshing as reading the book, and we hardly ever miss out on any part.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea...

As a radio play it felt more like listening to the soundtrack of a film (of course, without being able to see what's going on.) From listening to a lot of radioplays, I found that the best ones have scripts written specifically for radio... it felt like this one didn't. And I don't know but I feel like I've heard this kind of story a hundred times before. Not my cup of tea. I get the feeling I'd enjoy reading the book more.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely beautiful ~ an Audible Performance that was visually created in my mind!

Brilliant probably one of the best audibles I have heard! Loved the voices by each character, kept me engaged & my imagination going. Particularly loved the 🎼. Have never been to Calcutta but felt I have. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

what an annoying radio drama

Would you try another book from Vikram Seth and/or Full Cast?

I was really looking forward to this great read. One of Seth's greatest talents is the way he talks about music. The producers of this drama decided to include the music he talks about, mixed way too loud, rather than include the descriptions of the music. If you try to listen to this in a car it is nearly impossible to make out the dialogue. This might be fine with headphones but I found it quite annoying.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Took me to a familiar place of nostalgic past :)

Where does A Suitable Boy (Dramatised) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 30 of my Favorite books

What did you like best about this story?

Sarita and Lata's mothers character...Very well portrayed.

What about Full Cast’s performance did you like?

Their enunciation and amazing grasp on their characters.

If you could rename A Suitable Boy (Dramatised), what would you call it?

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Any additional comments?

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

A Suitable Boy

I could not listen to it. When I downloaded, I didn't realize it was a PERFORMANCE. I don't mind listening to more than one narrator, but I'm put off by a performance of a play when I want to hear the book as if I were reading it. My rating is not based on content, as I only listen for a short time. I didn't like the format.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful production

Such a well produced piece of audio literature, it was a luxury to enjoy. I hope many others get the same opportunity.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison
  • 08-11-11

Good and not so good

I really wanted an unabridged (or maybe a slightly abridged, given the scale of this book!) listen but this was the best I could find. I have the book and tried to read it but maybe because of its vastness, gave up.

This is very atmospheric, the music and background noises add, though they are a little loud at times. It was well acted and I figured out the characters quite readily. But the dramatisation must have removed some of the books 'heart' I feel as it didn't evoke the writing skill that Seth has so much of, and which in the 1/3rd of the book I DID read myself, added so much to the charm (and length!)

So, when it ended, it was abrupt - so much so that I assumed there was another section and my iPod had mis-filed it! But no, it ends sharply and suddenly, with nothing much explained.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. A. Howard
  • 04-15-09

Dramatised mystery?

As it is dramatised version, the storyline was hard to follow. Unless you have a good memory for voices - which actor's voice was who, talking to whom? I got somewhat confused so might have to read it as well?

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pen
  • 01-25-09

beautiful sound

I enjoyed the book although on the first listen, found it a bit difficult to follow the different characters perhaps because my ear is not attuned to indian accents, yet it did not matter. The sound quality and production was faultless and even without following the story, it was a pleasure to listen to and i have done so more than once, becoming totally immersed in the picture it was painting. The sound gave a context and created a sense of space and place. The music was carefully woven into the rhythms of the actor's voices and enhanced what they were saying. I wish more audio books were so carefully produced and i would listen to almost any book with the same audio production team, i think their achievements and names should be more prominently displayed alongside the reader/actors.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 05-06-08

Atrmospheric production

Very good production, and sound effects give this atmospheric feel. Best listened to with both headphones!!!!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr L A TUCKER
  • 01-21-09

Delightful !

Wonderfully entertaining dramatisation, the voices and the music are faultless. Only drawback is it's brevity. Should send you scuttling to the original text.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lesley Sherborne
  • 04-13-13

What a relief!

Having struggled to read this epic novel in paperback due to the tiny print, it was fantastic to hear this dramatised version of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. The characters are finely drawn and the cast and music bring to life the mood and pressures on the young Indian girl whose mother is seeking a suitable boy for her to marry despite her attraction to another unsuitable character.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 06-14-16

Magical performance

This is so much more than an audio book. It's a full cast performance complete with atmospheric sounds and wonderful music. I was completely captivated and transported to 1950s India. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-13-16

An Interesting narrative

This is a dramatised version of the book - the narration and sound effects kept me captivated. The story being narrated is also very pleasant, set in the 1950s, it carries the essence of dominance of societal norms in choices while youth is emerging with its very own value system. The story keeps you hooked and curious till the very end.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Customer
  • 09-26-20

Great listen after the TV set

Loved the BBC a suitable boy, and loved it all over again with this audible version.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine Leggett
  • 09-21-20

so amusing

Loved it. Such wonderful life in it. The music and really well matched background noises gave it great body. I couldnt distinguish the characters too well. There were so many. It was real entertaining and thought provoking.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-18

Poor recording

Sadly the recording quality of this audio book was so poor that I was missing most of the words and it was not possible to make it louder. I shall have to purchase a copy of the book instead which is disappointing.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-16-18

It's a radio play , not an audio book.

It can be a struggle if you don't know the story before listening. The format is a radio play not an audio book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-01-17

Like watching a movie with your eyes shut

Really difficult to listen to. No narrative just dialogue...too hard. Don't bother. That's all Thank you.