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Heat And Dust

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  5,981 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
Booker prize winning novel of romance and intrigue in India
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 13th 2003 by John Murray Publishers (first published 1975)
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Rating details
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Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, very-british
Fascinating book about the contradictions between and at the same time love of Indian and English culture… The beautiful, spoiled and bored Olivia, married to a civil servant living in India, shocks society in the tiny, suffocating hot town of Satipur, by eloping with an Indian prince, the Nawab. Fifty years later, her step-grand daughter goes back to the heat, dust and the squalor of the bazaar to find out more of Olivia’s scandal and discover India for herself. So the story moves back and fort ...more
Sep 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-novels
3.5 stars
Winner of the Booker Prize in 1975; this is actually quite good. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is an interesting character; her parents fled the Nazis in the late 1930s and she lost many family members in the Holocaust. She lived initially in Britain and then married an Indian architect and moved to India in 1951. She remained there until the 1970s when she moved to the US where she continued her already creative relationship with the Merchant Ivory team and had a hand in a great many of their f
An eloquent and beautifully poised novella comparing and contrasting the experiences of two English women in India. The unnamed narrator travels to India to investigate and tell the story of her father's first wife, a bored housewife who has an affair with a local prince. Their two stories are alternated and have many parallels, as well as contrasts between colonial and independent India. It is easy to see why this book won the Booker prize.
চমৎকার ছিমছাম একটা উপনযাস। রুথ পরাওয়ার জাবভালা আজ আর বেঁচে নেই, তবে রেখে গেছেন বুকার পুরসকার বিজয়ী এই বইটি, আর মারচেনট-আইভরি টীমের সাথে বানানো ৮০ আর ৯০ দশকের বিখযাত কিছু চলচচিতর। আরো কিছু বইও লিখেছিলেন, কিনতু ঔপনযাসিক হিসেবে তার কুশলী হাতের পরধান টেসটিমনি হয়ে থাকবে এই "হীট এনড ডাসট"।

লেখিকার জীবনকাহিনী বিংশ শতকের কলাসিক গলপ। ১৯৩৯ সালে হিটলারের তাড়া খেয়ে জারমানীর কোলোন শহর থেকে বিলেতে পালিয়ে এলো ছোট ইহুদি মেয়ে রুথ পরাওয়ার, সপরিবারে, একদম টায়ে টায়ে, দবিতীয় বিশবযুদধ শুরু হওয়ার মাতর কিছুদিন আগে। আর ক
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c20th, britain, booker
It took less than a day to read this - 180 pages long and easy to read - but it's a rich and fruitful book. It comprises two stories in parallel: the tale of Olivia who abandons her British husband when she goes to India; and of her un-named relative who goes to Satipur some fifty years later to solve the mystery of what became of Olivia. She ends up becoming 'seduced' by India too.

Olivia is naive but adventurous, and she doesn't like the other British wives and their disdain for Indian religion
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This short novel tells the story of two women, in two different era's. First there is the spoiled and unhappy Oliva, in 1923 colonial India, who outrages society by having an affair with the local Nawab. Olivia's husband Douglas divorces her and remarries. In the 1970's, his granddaughter arrives in India to revisit the places her family once lived and to try to discover the truth about the scandal that surrounded her grandfather's first wife.

There are a great deal of parallel events that occur
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, in-my-library
هند جادویی و افسونگر
البته خیلی جالبه که راوی در زمان حال وقتی به هند
سفر میکنه کثافت و بدبختیش رو هم میبینه و باز هم
شیفته میشه و به قول خودش از خط قرمز عبور میکنه
ستاره پنجم رو به ترجمه خوب کتاب دادم
که تجربه خوندنش رو لذت بخش کرد و با
زیرنویسهای خوبش متن رو قابل فهمتر کرد
شاید بهتره به خود هند سفر کنم عوض خوندن این همه
کتاب درباره هند ولی اینها خیلی گسترده میکنند دید
آدم رو و همینطور یک آمادگی میدن به آدم که شاید
سفر یکماهه هم برات به اندازه یه اقامت طولانی تر
جذاب و عمیق باشه
خطر اسپویل شدن
This is a lovely little novel. It immerses you in two different yet parallel India's. One of colonial 1923 and the other independence circa 1970s. It is very hard not to draw comparisons with E.M Fosters great novel "A Passage to India" both dealing with the English/Indian cultural clash and the somewhat mystical draw of India on the European character. I have a particular fondness for literature dealing with the follies of Englishman in foreign lands so this slight novel really appealed. My onl ...more
באמצע שנות ה 70, מקבלת צעירה אנגליה ששמה לא ידוע התכתבות בין אוליביה למרסיה. אוליביה, היא אישתו הראשונה של סבה דאגלס, והדיבור עליה הוא בגדר טאבו במשפחה. הצעירה מחליטה לנסוע להודו כדי לשחזר את חייה של אוליביה ולהבין את המסתורין האופפים את חייה. הסיפור נע בין המפגש של הצעירה עם הודו והמסע לגילוי מה באמת קרה לאוליביה, ובין חייה של אוליביה בהודו בשנות ה- 20 של המאה ה- 20 .

אוליביה התחתנה עם דאגלס באנגליה בשנות העשרים של המאה ה- 20. הוא איש מימשל אנגלי והם עוברים יחד לסטיפור, הודו. אוליביה מרותקת לחי
From BBC Radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama:
A beguiling story of two English women living in India more than fifty years apart. In 1923, Olivia is unhappily married to a civil servant. Her step-granddaughter travels to the subcontinent years later to investigate Olivia's life, which her family regarded as 'something dark and terrible'.

The story centres on the experiences of two very different women in pre- and post- Independence India. One is circumscribed by English mores and the formal social structure
Erika S
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent book. It actually brought me to tears in one particular instance:

"Maji sat down under a tree and took the old woman's head in her lap. She stroked it with her thick peasant hands and looked down into the dying face. Suddenly the old woman smiled, her toothless mouth opened with the same recognition as a baby's. Were her eyes not yet sightless--could she see Maji looking down at her? Or did she only feel her love and tenderness? Whatever it was, that smile seemed like a miracle to me" (1
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1975 Booker

An excellent, quick read that jumps back and forth in time between 1923 and 1970s India, concentrating on the lives of the wife of a British official in 1923 and her husband's granddaughter in the 1970s.
written in 1975, this book won the Booker prize of that year.

Set in 'modern day' (of 1975), but with over half the novel recounting events which happened fifty years prior, this books covers two very different times in India. It is set in Satipur, in Uttar Pradesh.

Our main character in modern day is unnamed, but is visiting India to investigate the story of her step-grandmother (her fathers, fathers first wife - her father was the child of the second wife).

The story of Olivia Rivers (in 1923), i
Marco Tamborrino
Apr 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mi dispiace per gli alberi che sono stati usati per stampare questo scempio.
Leslie Reese
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars - not because it wasn't well written but because I read Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's short story collection, Out of India, prior to reading Heat and Dust, so the novel seemed less dynamic and compelling to me.
Courtney H.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookers
This is definitely one of my least favorite Bookers. It was dull, it was pretentious, and the main character was, in the words of Rizzo, a total drag. Which might have been somewhat forgivable if it didn't have such a promising start. Because Jhabvala is clearly a good writer, and though the book is in journal form -- not usually my favorite -- it paces nicely and the writing has a nice kind of precision to it (though somewhat pretentious, as mentioned before). More importantly, she introduces a ...more
Aban (Aby)
In this short novel the reader follows the stories of two English women: the narrator whose name is never revealed and Olivia, her step-grandmother. Set in 1923 during Colonial times and fifty years later in Independent India, the novel follows the narrator's attempt to trace Olivia's life: her dissatisfaction with being an administrator's wife and her attraction to an Indian ruler who offered her an escape from it. Both women become pregnant and, although the choices they make are different, th ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a cool look into what India was like post-British colonialism. You got to see parallels in today's, or 1970's at least, Indian society too, the book kind of shows that India has taken old British Imperialism from their past and taken it over for their own particular ways of living.
The author seems to think Indian culture will *always* change a person entering it, whether for the person's better or worse, and demonstrates this in the exact same story through a woman and her great-great aun
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A story about the complicated facets of love and power, and how we often do not strive for what we most desire; it is always within our reach, if we are brave enough.

A brief, sardonic summary:

Olivia: It’s so hot here! There’s so much dust! My dear Douglas is right; English women weren’t meant for the heat. I’m bored and passive aggressive, and entirely unwilling to go out of my comfort zone to cultivate independent thought. To remain in disingenuous infatuation with the man I am married to, I wi
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, library, india, raj
Unnamed narrator, in the 1970s is searching for information about her grandfather's first wife, Olivia Rivers, in 1920s India. The book takes us back and forth from the 1970s through the narrator's diary entries back to the 1920s in Raj India and Olivia's story. The book contrasted Raj and the India of the present. The strongest element of the story was the evocation of India, especially through its descriptions of the climate--mostly "heat and dust." This also served as a metaphor for the heati ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книга, която не позволява да я оставиш до последната страница, да заспиш или да мислиш за друго. Кратка, красиво написана, проследяваща паралелно живота на две жени, които Индия белязва завинаги и ги превръща в авантюристки с трудно обяснимо понякога поведение.
"Индия винаги намира слабото ти място и цели в него."
Едната е отегчена, скучаеща съпруга на високопоставен английски служител, другата – негова внучка от втория му брак, търсеща истината за старателно премълчаваната и скандална за времето
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short novel had been on my shelf for years. I probably originally bought it because of my great admiration for the scripts she wrote for Merchant-Ivory films. This is great too. Interwoven stories of Anglo-Indians in two time periods. Quite romantic and lovely writing.
Christian Engler
After finishing Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's 1975 Booker-Prize winning novel set in India during the British Raj, I will admit, I was puzzled at the degree of kudos that this most mediocre novel received. To say that the book was lackluster in its conveyance of colonialism in India is barely hitting the mark in its accuracy. And to put it on the same shelf as A Passage to India is completely laughable, thus illustrating once again that overzealous literary critics are only too eager to press forth ont ...more
Ben Batchelder
Dec 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

This is a very odd, Booker-winning book. Even the title is provocative. The heat is procreation, the dust death. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s unnamed narrator, referring to her alter-ego and ex-great aunt, puts it this way:

The rest of the time Olivia was alone in her big house with all the doors and windows shut to keep out the heat and the dust. [p.17]

So what Olivia at first shunned – the crush of humanity in India – the narrator embraces from the start, being, you see, more modern. Let all the birth
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-extra, bookers

"Heat and Dust" and Gossip From The Forest by Thomas Keneally were the only two books shortlisted in 1975 and there was some debate about whether the latter was really a novel at all (as there was with Schindler's Ark).

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala had been living in India for about twenty years when she wrote this book and she captures its mesmerising effect on outsiders and its heat and dust very well. The author makes an attempt to show how attitudes have changed between the two time periods, in t
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In your teens and 20s you are impatient to leave your roots and fly away to explore a whole new world, the charm of new, and in your 30s or 40s you think of going deeper and deeper to dig your roots, the hidden treasures, the legacy, the pas, the charm of old, even if it lies in Heat and Dust.

This is what this book stands for, when a young woman, goes back to India to explore her family's ties and the underlying gossips or truth for that matter. She is different and she chooses a different life
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was very engaging to begin with. She set the scene beautifully and moved effortlessly between the story of the narrator and her step-grandmother. The description of a poor little town in colonial India and its evolution into a squalid modern day small town is also quite vivid, although a bit depressing. Some of the character descriptions are quite good, but some seem a bit stereotypical, like the British boy who has become a 'sadhu'. However, one has to be fair given that she is obviously wri ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Made it halfway through when I concluded that this well written but very depressing story was not going to end well for anyone. Had I continued I would have been an angry, frustrated mess looking for my time back. I simply can’t stand it when character development weakens rather than grows as the story moves along. I don’t have the time to read about characters disintegrating into absurdity, no matter how prettily they are written or historical context taken into account.

For instance, in this c
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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 about Ruth Prawer Jhabvala...
“The rest of the time Olivia was alone in her big house with all the doors and windows shut to keep out the heat and dust.” 1 likes
“The landscape which, a few weeks earlier, had been blotted out by dust was now hazy with moisture.” 1 likes
More quotes…