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Hailed as one of the best books of 1998 by the Los Angeles Times, this group of twelve short stories was written over the past twenty years. From the steamy streets of New Delhi to New York's tony Upper East Side, Jhabvala's characters grapple with the universal quandaries of the human experience-jealousy, passion, temptation, and deception-truths of life and love that follow no matter where we wander.
A profound and powerful novel, winner of the Booker PrizeSet in colonial India during the 1920s, Heat and Dust tells the story of Olivia, a beautiful woman suffocated by the propriety and social constraints of her position as the wife of an important English civil servant. Longing for passion and independence, Olivia is drawn into the spell of the Nawab, a minor Indian prince deeply involved in gang raids and criminal plots. She is intrigued by the Nawab's charm and aggressive courtship, and soon begins to spend most of her days in his company. But then she becomes pregnant, and unsure of the child's paternity, she is faced with a wrenching dilemma. Her reaction to the crisis humiliates her husband and outrages the British community, breeding a scandal that lives in collective memory long after her death.
"All the figures in this book...are irresistible comic manifestations."--The New Yorker This witty and perceptive novel is about Prem, a young teacher in New Delhi who has just become a householder and is finding his responsibilities perplexing.
This observant and insightful novel reveals, in rich and poignant detail, the interior lives of three generations of people in their quest for love and beauty Louise, not content with her husband's gentle affection, strives to reclaim her youth in titillating social and spiritual adventures. Her daughter Marietta searches for beauty in lofty ideas and in her obsession for her son Mark, who believes love is to be found in the pursuit of money and young, vacuous lovers. And Leo, their eccentric, self-styled guru, satisfies himself with power-commanding the bodies and souls of his followers.Demonstrating Jhabvala's deft twists of irony and humor, In Search of Love and Beauty brings several lifespans, full of hopes and ideals, within our grasp.
In this expansive story collection, acclaimed writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala continues her lifelong meditation on East and West. Set in India, England, and New York City, A Lovesong for India reveals what unites us across oceans, cultures, and lifetimes.In "Innocence," an older couple, whose social standing is marred from a decades-old scandal, rent out rooms in their Delhi home for both companionship and income. Isolated and battling blame and guilt, the couple becomes deeply invested in the lives of their two tenants. With the addition of a third renter-a beautiful and provocative woman from India-tensions in the household push the story to its feverish conclusion.The story "Talent" finds Jhabvala in New York City reflecting on the friction between family and societal expectations. Magda is a talent scout whose entire life is her work until she meets Ellie, a singer whose immense ability and unguarded personality captivate Magda. Soon Ellie is integrated into Magda's extended family for better or worse. Remarkable and unwavering, this collection is the hallmark of Jhabvala's celebrated career and a testament to her "balance, subtlety, wry humor, and beauty" -The New York Times.
For her first novel in more than nine years, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has written a most unusual book in a career of distinctive and unique accomplishments. My Nine Lives is "Chapters of a Possible Past," as the subtitle declares. It is, as the author has commented, a book filled with "invented memories." Nine vignettes are linked to portray a rich life filled with searching, from London to Delhi, from Hollywood to New York. Each chapter gathers a different cast of characters, some new and some vaguely familiar, and the linked assembly is as exciting and illuminating as an artist's first show at a Soho gallery or a new play at the Studio Theater.After seventeen books, now in her 77th year, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala takes herself on as a subject, and the life she may have or may have wished to live. My Nine Lives is a moving and intriguing book of invention and memory.
Chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of 1986, this volume of stories, selected by the author from her own early work, represents the essence of her Indian experience. Bearing Jhabvala's hallmark of balance, subtlety, wry humor, and beauty, these stories present characters that prove to be as vulnerable to the contradictions and oppressions of the human heart as to those of India itself.
Three Continents is a tale of the clash between the easternized West and the westernized East. Twins Harriet and Michael-spoiled, quixotic, and extremely wealthy-have eschewed the vapid world of cocktail parties and adulteries that seems to be their inheritance. In constantly searching to complete themselves, they become the perfect fodder for the charismatic Rawul of Dhoka and his sinister Sixth World Movement.
In Travelers, Jhabvala examines the unlikely convergence of four wanderers: Asha, an imperious Indian widow, Raymond, a curious Englishman, Lee, an American looking for her spiritual core, and Gopi, an impressionable young student. With a mixture of impassioned dialogue and subtle narrative, Jhabvala examines the psychological and cultural forces that wend their paths into inextricable knots of love and conflict.
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