Monday 27 July 2020

More than Suitable

Last night I watched the first of the new BBC1 showpiece drama series, a six-part adaptation of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy – and I loved it. Coming in the wake of the incomprehensible and unwatchable The Luminaries – and so many other BBC dramas full of anguished expressions and inaudible dialogue, filmed in the dark – this burst of light and colour and lucidity was more than welcome. Andrew Davies seems to have made a brilliant job of turning Seth's 1,400-page epic into a slick, involving and comprehensible TV narrative. There has been some silly confected 'controversy' about this white Rajah of the classic drama being involved in an otherwise 'all-Asian' production, but he's there for the simple reason that no one understands the art of translating novels into television better than Davies. It's hard to imagine anyone else taking on this project, let alone making a success of it. I fear my Sunday evenings will be taken care of for the next five weeks...
  But will I read the book? Tortoise-slow reader that I am, I very much doubt it – and if I'm going to take on a novel on such a grand scale, surely it should be War and Peace, which, to my shame, I have never read (though it feels as if I had). I've read Seth's extraordinary novel in Onegin sonnets, The Golden Gate, which is IMHO some kind of masterpiece. Perhaps, if I can't face A Suitable Boy, I should read An Equal Music – I'm sure I've got it somewhere...


  1. Completely agree Nige. I loved the first episode. Felt like I'd been transported to a different and thoroughly enjoyable world away from all the usual claptrap. Agree on the Luminaries too.

  2. Glad to hear it Guy – and I'm loving An Equal Music.