200 pages, paperback
‘Someone once said that the definition of the highest art is that one should feel that life is this and not otherwise. I do not know of a writer living who gives that feeling with more unqualified certainty than Mrs Jhabvala.’ So wrote CP Snow, reviewing this collection of the stories of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, an acknowledged queen of the genre. Set – of course in India, these stories are concerned not so much with Europeans in India as with Indians themselves. They are about universal human passions – yet interwoven with India itself. The heat, the vastness, the loneliness of India are all reflected in the lives of the people living in a country that is not so much an additional character as, often, the most central one. As always she tells her tales with compassion, penetration and humour, and the blithe gift of narration familiar to the hundreds of thousands who have seen the films – such as her own Heat and Dust – she scripted for the legendary Merchant Ivory team, and who have delighted in her novels.
‘A writer of genius … a writer of world class – a master storyteller whose interpretation of the Indian scene is but one aspect of her remorselessly intelligent yet decently sympathetic understanding of human relationships.’
‘Her tussle with India is one of the richest treats of contemporary literature.’
A review of the author’s writing by Robbie Clipper Sethi, 1994.
Ruth P Jhabvala - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born of Polish parents and came to England with her parents at the age of twelve. She was educated in England, took her degree at London University and is married to an Indian architect. She has written many novels and short stories and, often in collaboration with the director James Ivory, the screenplays for many films, including her own novel Heat and Dust (winning her the Booker Prize in 1975), A Room With A View, Howard’s End (for which she won Academy Awards) and The Remains of the Day.
Francis King - Francis King was born in Switzerland and raised in India. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford. King won the W. Somerset Maugham Prize for his novel The Dividing Stream (1951) and the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Prize. He is a President Emeritus of International P.E.N. and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.