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Heat and Dust Paperback – 13 Oct 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Paperback, 13 Oct 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; New edition edition (13 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719561779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719561771
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 776,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

Book Description

Booker prize winning novel of romance and intrigue in India

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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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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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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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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 nineteen 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 rythyms 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.
Read more ›
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