Tag Archive > Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

A Lovesong for India

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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, A Lovesong for India, book reviewThis article is part of our Holiday Reads 2013 series.

I love books about India and whenever I go there on holiday, I take a list of all the books I’ve heard about during the year that I might be able to find more easily in India. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s A Lovesong for India was one of my purchases in 2011. Whilst I generally prefer Indian writers, I also enjoy Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s semi-outsider view of Indian life. Although she was born German to Polish parents, she moved to England and then married an Indian – architect CSH Jhabvala – and together they spent many years living in India. She now splits her days between New York, London and Delhi and A Lovesong for India reflects that complexity in her own life.

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Esmond in India

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Esmond in India - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, book reviewShakuntala is young, idealistic and educated. With her Batchelor of Arts degree completed she’s not too sure what to do next when the world seems so full of opportunities. Hanging around the house with her pretty-but-simple sister-in-law, her ever so correct and dainty mother and a houseful of servants is giving her itchy feet. She adores her father, Har Dayal, because he’s an educated and highly cultured man but what’s a girl to do when there’s no clear route forward for someone like her? These are the 1950s, India has shaken off the shackles of Empire rule and a smart young woman must surely have more to look forward to than a loveless arranged marriage.


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