Friday, December 05, 2008

A Very Long Novel

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here but in and around the knitting and the sewing and the cooking and the parenting I have been reading A Suitable Boy, a novel I’ve tried to read numerous times over the years.

The first attempts involved library copies but at nearly 1500 pages, I simply ran out of time before the due date. Also—nearly 1500 pages—kind of large. While pregnant with The Princess, my belly made a good giant-hardback-novel-holder but after her arrival I decided to try again with a purchased paperback. Also not so easy to hold. And as a sleep deprived, constantly nursing mother, I had a hard time paying attention to the numerous characters, main plot lines, lesser plot lines, and hundreds of minor characters. Did I mention that this is a long book?

After a couple of years of watching Bollywood movies, I thought I might give it another try. Complex 3 hour sagas are not bad training for a book like this. I started reading again in August have been reading (albeit with numerous side reads) ever since. It turns out that it’s a wonderful book. Complex, yes, but beautifully written, skillfully paced, and almost never dull. I confess to skimming a couple of the courtroom scenes but otherwise I really enjoyed the book and loved immersing myself in the story for hours at a time.

Even so, I am delighted to report that my 4+month reading marathon is over. No more sore wrists. No more backtracking to figure out what was going on when I nodded off the night before. No more smartass comments from the man who sleeps in my bed. No more feeling guilty about my little trysts with other authors. I have finished what appears to be either the longest novel ever written in English or the longest novel in the English language published in a single volume depending on who you believe. I expected heavenly choirs and flashes of golden light. No such luck, unfortunately. Still it seems like some kind of celebration is in order. Ideas?

1 comment:

Ali said...

I don't know but I have a great book I've been saving for you:
My Father's Paradise