The Householder
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The Householder

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Prem is a recently married teacher who is neither very good at teaching nor at being married. He is promised an ally against his wife Indu, whom he regards with varying degrees of irritation, when his mother comes to visit. He soon finds, though, that maternal interference is far from helpful, and he receives comfort from an entirely unexpected quarter - his wife - as he d...more
Paperback, 138 pages
Published August 2nd 2004 by John Murray (first published 1960)
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According to the synopsis of this novel on Goodreads – this is a witty novel. There is certainly a kind of bittersweet comedic quality to some of it – but I’m not sure I’d call it witty exactly. I’m just being pedantic perhaps – for me, while The Householder is a comedy of manners – I found myself indulging in an occasional wry smile, rather than chuckling into my book. Nonetheless this is a charming touching novel which I found by turn, sad and heart-warming. Jhabvala beautifully depicts 1960’s...more
Jun 12, 2012 Shriya rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to go completely BONKERS!
You know, once in a lifetime, you come across a book that makes you keep a hand on your heart and send a prayer of gratitude to the heavens that you weren't the one who bought it. This, my friends, is that book- a book that makes you want to cut off the author's fingers one by one to acquaint them with the sense of torture his/her book has inflicted upon the reader and then shout 'Avada Kedavra' at them. It is a book that makes 'Twilight' look like the best literary creation of all times and...more
Monica Wesolowska
It took decades for my mother to pull this book from her shelf, read it, love it, and pass it along to me. That this slim book waited so patiently is not surprising considering its protagonist. Set in New Dheli, THE HOUSEHOLDER by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala follows a few months in the life of Prem, a maddeningly passive newly-wed who wants so much to do right by people that he ends up pleasing no one including himself. It's told in a delightfully ironic third person that provides good comic distance....more
Jaiwantika Dutta
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is definitely Indian- she's satirically, humorously, honourably Indian. Her book, " The Householder", documents Indian lowlife in the most detailed way possible, providing startling depth of insight with her sometimes excruciating descriptions.
One is not sure whether to call this a book far ahead of its times or to rue the fact that it could possibly be a book written appropriately for its own time- India just hasn't changed any on a socio-cultural level in the last fifty y...more
Having made a trip to India at the end of 2012, I've found myself fascinated with the country and reading quite a few books about Indian life, some fiction and some non-fiction. Although this novel was written more than forty years ago, I suspect that the life of a young, newly married man (in an arranged marriage), holding down a job in a 2nd or perhaps 3rd or 4th rate college may not be so very different today. The adjustment to married life and all its responsibilities is quite a task even in...more
This is not my sort of humour, which is why I did not enjoy it more, but it is well done as a mildly satirical look at the transition from boy to man. Very little happens, but that is really the point; to go from being a student in one's mothers house to being a 'householder' -- the head of a household, responsible for a wife (who was chosen by the parents; this is the world of arranged marriages) and potential child, earning one's income -- is not a dramatic process, nor necessarily even a perc...more
Lukrezia Cosimo
I just wish this book had been longer! The characters (Prem, his mother, Mrs Khanna, Hans, the landlord's family) really came to life for me. The story is sometimes funny, often touching. It's interesting to compare the non-Indians searching for inner meaning, while the Indian characters are mainly battling with everyday problems and difficulties. I really liked "Heat and Dust" and will now look for more books by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Ruth Jhabvala is a wonderful writer that to me has mastered the art of dialogue and emotion in a book. I loved every minute of her story and believe that I will be reading more from her soon. So glad I picked this book up!
Insightful, thoughtful, droll...wonderful.
One of a series of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala novels I've read in the past two years. Each one has been a gem.
Sep 09, 2009 Anna marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I like the original/vintage covers for this book better. Will see if I can find an image of one of them.
Angel Dysart-nunekpeku
Had to read for in-class assignment but i found it somewhat humorous.
Tim and Popie Stafford
Nice, affecting portrait of a young man newly married trying to find his way.
kirsten johnstone
fine detail and nuances.
but incredibly slow.
Susan Anderson
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Prem, a perfect match.
Re-reading a an old favorite. Simply exquisite.
Wonderful comic scenes.
Patricia Willers
Patricia Willers marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2014
Devanand Puri
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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, CBE is a Booker prize-winning novelist, short story writer, and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter. She is perhaps best known for her long collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions, made up of director James Ivory and the late producer Ismail Merchant. Their films won six Academy Awards.

She fled Cologne with her family in 1939 and lived through the London Blitz....more
More about Ruth Prawer Jhabvala...
Heat and Dust Out of India: Selected Stories A Backward Place Esmond In India East Into Upper East: Plain Tales from New York and New Delhi

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