East Into Upper East: Plain Tales from New York and New Delhi

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Counterpoint Press, 1999 - Fiction - 314 pages
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Written over twenty years and featuring settings that range from the crowded bazaars of India to New York’s Upper East Side, this magnificent collection brings together fourteen new stories by a writer of unparalleled grace, insight, and emotional power. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, well-known for her Merchant-Ivory screenplays and her Booker Prize-winning novel Heat and Dust, claims unique territory in her short fiction, occupying the cusp between two worlds, India and the West. She expertly mingles the two in subject matter, perspective, and style to offer stories of universal appeal. Whether languishing inside their shuttered New Delhi homes or hosting dinner parties in their baroque Manhattan apartments, Jhabvala’s characters are men and women of sensual passions and worldly ambition. They confront loneliness and neglect, struggle for independence in a world of manners and manipulations, and adjust to both welcome and unwelcome guests who stay too long and change their hosts’ lives in devastating ways. Hers are stories of elegance and exquisite delicacy, weaving complex domestic tapestries that range over entire lives. A proper Indian gentleman tries to help his wayward younger brother. A grand hostess on the eve of India’s independence uses her power for personal and political ends. A frail New York socialite tries to understand her daughter’s alternative life. And a circle of emotionally empty, upperclass New Yorkers adopts an old Indian woman as their spiritual guide. To read these stories is to succumb to the power of a true master--a writer who spans two worlds and who uses this singular perspective to illuminate hidden truths. The sensuousness of India, the neuroses of New York - both are portrayed vividly in these powerful narratives and marvelous entertainments.

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East into Upper East: Plain Tales from New York and New Delhi

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Jhabvala, best known for her Merchant-Ivory screenplays and her Booker Prize- winning novel, Heat and Dust (1983), here presents 14 short stories. Written over a 20-year period, they are set in ... Read full review

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References to this book

Where I Come from
Vijay Agnew
Limited preview - 2003

About the author (1999)

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.

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