A Lovesong for India by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Tales from the East and West

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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, 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.

About Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born in Cologne, Germany on May 7, 1927. She had to emigrate to England in 1939 with her family because of their Jewish faith. She earned a degree in English literature at London University. In 1951, she married an Indian architect, moved to India and raised three daughters. She began writing in 1955 and has written a dozen novels. Several novels were set in India such as The Nature of Passion, Esmond in India, Travelers and The Householder, which was also her first motion picture project. Shakespeare Wallah was her first collaboration on an original project. She also wrote screenplays such as Roseland and Jefferson in Paris. Her other fiction works included In Search of Love and Beauty, Three Continents, Poet and Dancer, Shards of Memory, East into Upper East and My Nine Lives: Chapters of a Possible Past. She won numerous awards including Britain's Booker Prize for her novel Heat and Dust in 1975, the BAFTA award for Best Screenplay for the filmed adaptation of Heat and Dust in 1984, an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for A Room With a View in 1986, the Best Screenplay Award from the New York Film Critics Circle for Mr. & Mrs. Bridge in 1990, an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Howards, the MacArthur Foundation Award in 1984 and the Writers Guild of America's Screen Laurel Award in 1994. She died on April 3, 2013 at the age of 85.
Published February 1, 2012 by Counterpoint. 287 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Lovesong for India

The Guardian

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In a long and distinguished writing career, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has moved with apparent ease between novels, short stories and film scripts.

Oct 26 2011 | Read Full Review of A Lovesong for India: Tales f...

Tampa Bay Times

In her latest book, A Lovesong for India, Jhabvala returns to two passions that ignited her career: India and the short story.

Mar 03 2012 | Read Full Review of A Lovesong for India: Tales f...

Literary Review

In an interview in The Observer three years after her 1975 Booker Prize win with Heat and Dust (now reissued by Abacus), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, then in her fifties, said: 'I sometimes wonder what I'll be doing at 80.' The answer is this: delivering a masterclass in storytelling and writing beautif...

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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.

Apr 22 2012 | Read Full Review of A Lovesong for India: Tales f...


He confides the story behind their seemingly ordinary lives to Ken, an ageing, melancholic writer who sees in his neighbours the possibility of one last simple love story.

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Taking us from a sweltering Indian rooftop at night to the marble halls of an ageing Bollywood star's palace, this is a new collection of short stories from Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

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