Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Two Parallel Lives So Different
on 16 February 1998
"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!