Friday 31 January 2014

Heat and Dust

Finished January 30
Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

This novel won the Booker Prize in 1975. It has two story lines. One occurs in 1923 in colonial India in the town of Satipur and the nearby Khatm. The other occurs in the present (1970s) also in Satipur.
In 1923, Olivia has come to join her new husband Douglas who works as an assistant commissioner. During one social event Olivia meets the Nawab of Khatm and becomes fascinated with him, and the Nawab begins to visit her regularly and send his car for her to come and visit him. Staying with the Nawab is Harry, a young Englishman who doesn't seem to know whether he wants to stay or return to England. Olivia is bored with the other English wives and flattered by the attentions of the Nawab, but her actions soon lead he to a choice that will change her life forever.
In the 1970s, Douglas' granddaughter has gotten hold of Olivia's story, through her letters home to her sister and the reminiscences of her grandmother and great aunt and others. She has brought the letters with her to India to see India for herself and tell Olivia's story. But she falls into actions reminiscent of those of Olivia and must make her own choices and follow her own story.


  1. This sounds different. I will have to see if I can get a copy.

  2. It was featured as a January pick on one of the challenges I am doing this year, and I managed to find it in the library where I live (rather than the one where I work). It was very different and unexpected, and it was nice to tick another Booker winner off the list too.