A Lovesong for India

A Lovesong for India

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by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
     
 

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In this expansive story collection, acclaimed writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala continues her lifelong meditation on East and West. Set in India, England, and New York City, A Lovesong for India reveals what unites us across oceans, cultures, and lifetimes.

In “Innocence,” an older couple, whose social standing is marred from a decades-old scandal,See more details below

Overview

In this expansive story collection, acclaimed writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala continues her lifelong meditation on East and West. Set in India, England, and New York City, A Lovesong for India reveals what unites us across oceans, cultures, and lifetimes.

In “Innocence,” an older couple, whose social standing is marred from a decades-old scandal, rent out rooms in their Delhi home for both companionship and income. Isolated and battling blame and guilt, the couple becomes deeply invested in the lives of their two tenants. With the addition of a third renter—a beautiful and provocative woman from India—tensions in the household push the story to its feverish conclusion.

The story “Talent” finds Jhabvala in New York City reflecting on the friction between family and societal expectations. Magda is a talent scout whose entire life is her work until she meets Ellie, a singer whose immense ability and unguarded personality captivate Magda. Soon Ellie is integrated into Magda’s extended family for better or worse.

Remarkable and unwavering, this collection is the hallmark of Jhabvala’s celebrated career and a testament to her “balance, subtlety, wry humor, and beauty” —The New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There’s a cinematic quality to many of these short stories, not surprising given Jhabvala’s illustrious film career: she has written more than 20 screenplays for Merchant-Ivory films and won Academy Awards for A Room with a View and Howards End. In “Bombay,” young Munni escapes an unwanted arranged marriage and flees to the U.S., where she meets and marries the son of a famous Indian film actor. The couple returns to the ancestral home of the aging celebrity, who takes a particular interest in his son’s new bride. The opulent setting and plot twists are noteworthy, but eclipse the characters. Other stories, set in New York and London, echo with a similar resonance; unlikely brushes with fame or fortune create intriguing situations, but Jhabvala fails to fill out characters. In “The New Messiah,” orphaned siblings Rita and Kris (short for Krishna) meet a filmmaker in London, who is struggling after a string of flops, and follow him to New York so that Rita can assist him. It’s Kris, however, who becomes the apple of the man’s eye, apparently inspiring everyone in his wake as well as an elaborate new film. Though the story builds around Kris’s magnetism, accounts of his appearance, idiosyncrasies, or appeal remain absent. Jhabvala’s exquisite sensibilities promise a more satisfying engagement. Agent: Debbie Gill, Maia Publishing Services. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

Praise for A Lovesong for India

"Jhabvala demonstrates the concise and detached writing style for which she is known and praised. Her reputation alone ought to be enough to recommend this collection, but its energy, subtlety, and beauty legitimize its place in all fiction collections." —Library Journal

"Ruth Prawer Jhabvala [is] a prodigious talent . . . India is here in full Technicolor, but so are Piccadilly and Park Avenue. This writer’s genius—unlike Conrad’s or Forster’s or even Austen’s—is that she points out how essentially similar insiders and outsiders can be." —The Washington Post

“...A cinematic quality... The opulent setting and plot twists are noteworthy... Jhabvala’s exquisite sensibilities promise a more satisfying engagement.” —Publishers Weekly

“If these 11 exquisitely crafted stories are indeed love songs, they sing not so much of India as of the vulnerability of the human heart... acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala sketches, with a few deft strokes, the longings and losses of people she encountered or perhaps imagined... Her stories speak to the essential impossibility of ever really knowing, let alone owning, another human being, especially someone you dearly love.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619020351
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
02/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
876,107
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is the author of nineteen books. She is the recipient of Booker Prize, a MacArthur fellowship, and has been honored with an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Jhabvala’s screenplays for Merchant-Ivory Productions have earned two Academy Awards. Jhabvala and her husband divide their time between Delhi and New York.

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