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Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
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Heat and Dust (original 1975; edition 1999)

by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

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1,1903314,424 (3.53)101
Each book in the New Longman Literature series provides the complete, original text and a full range of support materials. The study material includes: the writer on writing - a section by or about the writer, exploring the process of writing; an introduction; guidance on keeping a log; a National Curriculum study programme; and a glossary.… (more)
Member:abhinav.maurya
Title:Heat and Dust
Authors:Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Info:Counterpoint (1999), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 190 pages
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Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1975)

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English (32)  Dutch (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Published in 1975, this book tells the story of an unnamed British woman who travels to India in search of her step–grandmother’s past. Her English step-grandmother, Olivia, had lived with her husband, a British official, in Satipur in the 1920s, during the era of the British Raj. She had developed a friendship with the local Nawab, an Indian Muslim prince. Later, the friendship became an infatuation, and a scandal ensued. The narrator has always been intrigued with her family’s history. In the 1970s, she inherits Olivia’s letters and journals, which further piques her curiosity. While in India, the narrator’s life starts to parallel that of her step-grandmother.

Throughout this story, the reader will become familiar with conditions in India in the 1920s – poverty, disease, crime, and the ever-present “heat and dust.” The letters contain the views of Olivia’s British social circle. Their view of India’s population comes across as mostly negative. Women have a subservient role and are expected to be dutiful and reserved. Olivia, through her contact with the Nawab, provides his views of the British, so the reader gains multiple perspectives. Both the British and the Nawab live in relative luxury compared to the majority of the population.

The reader comes to understand why Olivia and the Nawab are mutually attracted. He treats her with respect, confides in her, and sees her as a woman of agency. It is a character-driven novel. The 1970s story is narrated in first person. The historical story is told as if it were unfolding. Near the end there is conflict introduced by two male characters that results in Olivia taking a drastic action. It is not a happy story and not for anyone seeking one with all the loose ends tied up. I can see why this book won the Booker prize. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
A little treat of a book where nearly everyone was both likable and not. ( )
  Martialia | Sep 28, 2022 |
Heat and Dust (1975) is a novel by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala which won the Booker Prize in 1975. The book was also ranked by The Telegraph in 2014 as one of the 10 all-time greatest Asian novels.
  riselibrary_CSUC | Sep 16, 2021 |
I liked the picture the author conjures up of colonial India and found the descriptions of Europeans who to go India now to 'find themselves' quite amusing. However, I found the character of Olivia very irritating. She was at best naive and at worst stupid and blinkered. I was surprised to learn this book had won the Booker Prize as I found nothing particularly special about the style of writing and I've certainly read some far better novels based in India; 'A Suitable Boy' and 'The God of Small Things' spring immediately to mind. ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
This is a short but intricate nove where lives carefully and slowly interweave. A woman becomes curious about her grandfather's first wife and goes out to India to seek out her story. We hear both the past and the present, the British and the Indian perspectives, the new and the old morals. At the heart of this is the mysterious India teeming with emotions and desires in a hot, dusty land that excites all who live there.

It's beautifully written - the pace is slow but the story unfolds in a way that's impossible to put it down. What is most remarkable, however, is how the lives of the main two characters, separated by time, generation and family, start to meld in different ways but to the same inescapable destiny that they would not have foreseen but that they embrace fully and happily. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Jan 5, 2021 |
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Shortly after Olivia went away with the Nawab, Beth Crawford returned from Simla.
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Each book in the New Longman Literature series provides the complete, original text and a full range of support materials. The study material includes: the writer on writing - a section by or about the writer, exploring the process of writing; an introduction; guidance on keeping a log; a National Curriculum study programme; and a glossary.

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