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Heat and Dust (NEW LONGMAN LITERATURE 14-18) Paperback – 20 Feb 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 1 edition (20 Feb. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582253985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582253988
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.1 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,052,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A superb book. A complex story line, handled with dazzling assurance ... moving and profound. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has not only written a love story, she has also exposed the soul and nerve ends of a fascinating and compelling country. This is a book of cool, controlled brilliance. It is a jewel to be treasured (The Times)

A writer of genius ... a writer of world class - a master storyteller (Sunday Times)

Coolly assured novel ... Written with seek elegance, this book delves into the heart of an unmistakably seductive country (The Good Book Guide)

Her tussle with India is one of the richest treats of contemporary literature (Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Booker prize winning novel of romance and intrigue in India --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Shortly after Olivia went away with the Nawab, Beth Crawford returned from Simla. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a well-written book that explores Anglo-Indian relations through the power of romance. Set in two distinct eras, colonial India of the nineteen twenties, during the time of the Raj, and the independent, freewheeling India of the seventies, during the time when India was a mecca for disenfranchised youth, it tells the story of two women.
One story is that of Olivia, the wife of a minor district official in colonial India, who in 1923 caused great scandal by running off with the Nawab, a local Indian prince. Divorced by her husband, Douglas, for this scandalous transgression, Olivia remains in India, while Douglas remarries. The second story is that of the narrator, a descendant of Douglas and his second wife. During the nineteen seventies, fascinated by the story of the now deceased Olivia, she goes to India, visiting those locations where Olivia had lived and those which would have been a part of her existence at the time. As did Olivia, she falls under India's spell. As did Olivia, she, too, has an Anglo-Indian love affair, and picks up where Olivia left off, giving the reader a powerful sense of de-ja vu.
The book is a beguiling story of two women from two different generations who come under the spell of India. The book is evocative of British colonial India, as well as of India of the nineteen seventies. During both eras, Anglo-Indian relations are pivotal to the budding romances. The book is evocative of the rhythms of Indian life in all its richness and tumultuousness, as well as its lingering poverty and superstitions. It is redolent of a time gone by and hopeful of what is to come. It is also an interesting dichotomy of the good and bad in both cultures, Anglo and Indian, and the influence that both cultures have on these two women, who are so different, yet so alike.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
A deceptively simple story, written in a clear, economical and direct style. Set in India both before and after the British Raj, it is as much a portrait of a country as it is a story of two women. I could really feel the heat and dust of the title and the atmosphere and culture of India are well evoked.

The plot has two strands. One is set in 1923, and revolves around Olivia, the bored British wife of a civil servant working in India. She is drawn into the circle of the charismatic Nawab of Khatm, an Indian prince. The second strand is composed of diary entries by Olivia's step-grandaughter, who has travelled to India in the 1970s to explore her family's past. The two interweave nicely, with some parallels developing.

Despite its simplicity, this is a readable and enjoyable story which retains momentum. I was a bit disappointed with the ending which was unsatisfying - the story built to a climax only to fizzle out.
I felt that it rather let down the rest of the writing. But it was certainly an intimate portrait both of India and of human nature in general, and explored some of the issues around colonialism in a gentle but probing way. I would certainly recommend it to anyone with an interest in India, but not to those who prefer books with lots of action.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Feb. 1998
Format: Paperback
"Heat and Dust" rarely evoked the images of either of these two things for me.... Perhaps it was such a richly human novel concentrating most centrally on the feelings of women and their problems at two different moments in Indian history that I was more caught up in the drama of its characters than in the Indian landscape. Heat and Dust is not a dry novel. I think that one of the most interesting aspects of the novel is the shared story between Olivia, the young woman from the 1920's, and the unnamed young woman of the 1970's who is the granddaughter of Olivia's British husband. The parallels between their lives are beautifully set aside one another, while at the same time, using the two women as a guide, we can see how India and the lives of women around the world have changed in the short span of fifty years. It is interesting to note how Ruth Prawer Jhabwala manages to show this huge contrast using the lives of two white English women as her instrument. If you are looking for a complex saga, this is not your type of novel, because "Heat and Dust" is quite simple and straightforward, but I think it is an interesting pair of stories for both women and men who are interested in India and interested in how choices can affect our lives. It is mind-boggling for me to think how different two women's lives can be due to the simple fact that their dates of birth are a few decades apart, but in "Heat and Dust" we can see that this seemingly simple factor changed the courses of millions of lives, while for others the years change little or nothing at all. Enjoy reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads on 12 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
There are two parallel stories running throughout `Heat and Dust'. In 1923 we have Olivia who, knewly married, moves to India when her husband Douglas gets a job there working for the British Government. Whilst there she meets the local ruling Nawab, a prince, which leads to (and this isn't spoiling the story, we know this very quickly) an affair and her desertion. Fifty years later, after hearing of her grandfathers first wife who disappeared, we meet an unnamed woman who wants to find out more about this mysterious Olivia and just what happened to her after she seemingly vanished and starts to follow her trail.

What is so interesting about the book is how the events of both women start to mirror each other yet at the same time are completely polar experiences. They are both in the region of Khatm and yet, with the time between them, they seem like very separate worlds and ones that in each case Jhabvala sets the atmosphere incredibly. The world Olivia inhabits is one of lavishness, to the point of being spoiled, she has lots of money and often bored, verging on miserable, with either too much time on her hands of being forced into `socialising' with other expat wives like the matronly Mrs Crawford and Mrs Minnies, women she doesn't like and who don't really like her. It is a world that bares almost no relation to the horrors her husband Douglas sees which the Nawab accepts which Jhabvala gives us occasional shocking glimpses of.

Her step-granddaughter (which seems an odd title as they never met) however inhabits the poorer, if slightly more developed, Satipur. There is the thrill of the new world and also the mystery of piecing this woman and her scandal together.
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