x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

A Lovesong for India: art imitates life

With her new book, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala delivers 11 short stories, each containing shrewd perceptions about the way the world works.

A Lovesong For India: Tales from East and West By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
A Lovesong For India: Tales from East and West By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

The Booker Prize-winning novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala delivers a collection of 11 short stories, each containing shrewd perceptions about the way the world works and the type of characters who stumble through it.

That she celebrates her 85th birthday this year only makes the breadth and depth of her career (she's written 20 books and two Oscar-winning screenplays) seem more plausible, as does a quick read of her Wikipedia profile which reveals a life that is the stuff of bestsellers: "She was born Ruth Prawer in Cologne, Germany to Jewish parents … The family fled the Nazi regime in 1939, emigrating to Britain … She married Cyrus H Jhabvala, an Indian Parsi architect, in 1951 … The couple moved to Delhi, India, in 1951 and they had three daughters…"

This collection of stories reveals some of the themes that have perhaps visited her own life: ever present cross-cultural nuances; dealing with the neuroses of artistic elites; and, where falling in love can take you. But one can only speculate.