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Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
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Heat and Dust (original 1975; edition 1987)

by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

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8852610,006 (3.54)78
Member:jagmuse
Title:Heat and Dust
Authors:Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Info:Touchstone (1987), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:20th century, booker prize, colonialism, fiction, indian, own, tbr, women

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Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1975)

Recently added byZebAndBecca, augustgarage, Gmmmm, private library, eronn, CPI, tangierbookclub, thcipriani

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Unnamed narrator, in the 1970s is searching for information about her grandfather's first wife, Olivia Rivers, in 1920s India. The book takes us back and forth from the 1970s through the narrator's diary entries back to the 1920s in Raj India and Olivia's story. The book contrasted Raj and the India of the present. The strongest element of the story was the evocation of India, especially through its descriptions of the climate--mostly "heat and dust." This also served as a metaphor for the heating up and consummation of the affair between Olivia and the Nawab , a minor prince. I disliked all of the characters: Olivia was a whiner and the present-day woman was just...there. But both were mesmerized by India and chose different outcomes as solution to the same dilemma. I liked the author's simple, spare style, clipped and terse dialogue and evocation of the country. ( )
  janerawoof | Feb 2, 2016 |
I like the way the two strands of the story were woven together. One the story of the British grandmother who ran away from her husband and married an Indian prince. The second story of the grandmother trying to piece together this story. Both are stories about the power of India. Both women are drawn into the culture in ways that estrange them from their own English stories. Neither can really go back.

The book was read in a lovely way by Julie Christie. I would recommend the book just for the reading. ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
An eloquent and beautifully poised novella comparing and contrasting the experiences of two English women in India. The unnamed narrator travels to India to investigate and tell the story of her father's first wife, a bored housewife who has an affair with a local prince. Their two stories are alternated and have many parallels, as well as contrasts between colonial and independent India. It is easy to see why this book won the Booker prize. ( )
  bodachliath | Nov 12, 2015 |
I listened to this book which was narrated by the actress Julie Christie. Christie also played the main character in the movie made from the book. I thought she did an excellent job as the narrator.

The book is about an English woman, Anne, who goes to India to discover more about her grandfather's first wife, Olivia. Her grandfather and Olivia lived in Satipur in the 1920s shortly after their marriage. Olivia fell under the charm of the local Indian ruler, the Nawab. With not much to fill her days Olivia spends her time with the Nawab and an English man attached to the Nawab's household, Harry. When the hot season comes and the other English women go to the hill stations Olivia stays behind.

We learn all this in a series of flashbacks from letters that Olivia wrote at the time. In the present time Anne also falls under the charm of India and an Indian man. The narrator seems to be fated to duplicate Olivia's life but perhaps her life will be more successful than Olivia's.

The women's stories are the main thrust of the book but the background of India under imperial Britain and then under home rule is fascinating. Only 50 years have passed between the parallel stories but what a difference in a country. I thought this was at least as interesting as what Olivia and Anne experienced. ( )
  gypsysmom | May 29, 2015 |
The narrator of this novel is a young woman who is exploring the footsteps of her Grandfather's first wife, Olivia in India. The story unfold of how Olivia fell in love with a local prince in 1923 and there is some mirroring in the 1923 story and the 1960/70s story in the places they visit, things that happen. I enjoyed the novel although it lacked engagement on some level. The narrative flits between the 'present' and 1923 and the story kept moving enough for it to be interesting. The heat and dust of summer in this part of India was well depicted. ( )
  Tifi | Jan 9, 2015 |
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Shortly after Olivia went away with the Nawab, Beth Crawford returned from Simla.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671646575, Paperback)

Set in India, HEAT AND DUST is the story of Olivia, a beautiful, spoiled, bored English colonial wife in the 1920s who is drawn inexorably into the spell of the Nawab, a minor Indian prince deeply involved in plots and intrigues. Olivia outrages the tiny, suffocating town where her husband is a civil servant by eloping with the captivating Nawab. It is also the story of Olivia's step-granddaughter who, fifty years later, is drawn to India by her fascination with the letters left behind by the now dead older woman, and by her obsession with solving the enigma of Olivia's scandal. A penetrating and compassionate love story, this brilliant novel immerses the reader in the heat, dust, and squalor of India, while providing a compelling mixture of the spiritual and the sensual.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Set in India, HEAT AND DUST is the story of Olivia, a beautiful, spoiled, bored English colonial wife in the 1920s who is drawn inexorably into the spell of the Nawab, a minor Indian prince deeply involved in plots and intrigues. Olivia outrages the tiny, suffocating town where her husband is a civil servant by eloping with the captivating Nawab.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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