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Heat and Dust

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  6,582 ratings  ·  330 reviews
Set in colonial India during the 1920s, Heat and Dust tells the story of Olivia, a beautiful woman suffocated by the propriety and social constraints of her position as the wife of an important English civil servant. Longing for passion and independence, Olivia is drawn into the spell of the Nawab, a minor Indian prince deeply involved in gang raids and criminal plots. She ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published April 16th 1999 by Counterpoint (first published 1975)
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,582 ratings  ·  330 reviews

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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
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.
[2.5] An only-just-postcolonial novel about the British in India, by an author who described herself as "a Central European with an English education and a deplorable tendency to constant self-analysis," and who was married to an Indian man.

Some friends will see from that quote why I might have been interested in Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, but I read this very short book mostly to improve my count of Booker winners (this being only the 14th), as I'm active in a group where many people have read more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
J. Watson (aka umberto)
3.5 stars

This was my first trial in reading Mrs Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's novel due to my disappointment with Ms Arundhati Roy's latest one entitled "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness" (Knopf 2017) in which I could not go on around page 30 even though I had immensely enjoyed reading her "The God of Small Things" (Fourth Estate 2009).

For our better understanding, we should start with its brief synopsis:
The beautiful, spoilt and bored Olivia, married to a civil servant, outrages society in the tiny,
I’d been looking forward to reading this book, not least because Ruth Prawer Jhabvala wrote the screenplays for wonderful films such as A Room With A View and Howards End, and a personal favourite of mine, The Remains of the Day. I’m also drawn to books set in India. Lastly, because Heat and Dust won the Man Booker Prize in 1975, although admittedly that year there was only one other book on the shortlist – Thomas Keneally’s Gossip From the Forest. You can understand my disappointment then that ...more
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker, britain, c20th
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
Raheleh Abbasinejad
اول اینکه: کتاب خیلی جذاب و پرکشش بود. اگر یه وقتی خواستین کتابی به نسبت کوتاه بخونید که داستان داشته باشه و حوصله تون هم سر نره، حتما انتخاب خوبی هست. متن انگلیسیش هم به بسیار بسیار ساده است و اگر خواستین رمان انگلیسی ساده بخونید، گزینه مناسبی هست واقعا.

دوم اینکه: داستان هم یک سری خوبی ها داشت، و هم یه سری نقاط ضعف که خیلی توی ذوق میزد. اول خوبی هاش رو میگم:
1. داستان از زاویه ی دید دو تا خانوم انگلیسی در دو بازه زمانی متفاوت ، اما به موازات همدیگه، درهند نقل میشه. رفت و برگشت بین این دو دنیای
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

Ho hummmmm .....

Always the same story, isn’t it? And when there’s nothing new to say, just don’t say it.

Paul Scott re-visited E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, and surpassed him by a country mile. After Scott, there was nothing left to say about India.

They should have given Jhabvala’s Booker to Scott for one of his other novels in the Raj Quartet. (As it was, they only gave him one, for Staying On.)

When Booker starts making sense, I’ll read more Bookers. As it stands, I now read them, on
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
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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
Elham Zakeri
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
این کتاب تصویر متفاوتی از هند ارائه میکند، تصویری بسیار متفاوت از آنچه در فیلمهای بالیوودی میبینیم. تصویر مردمی غرق در رنج و فقر و بیماری که از زبان یک انگلیسی روایت میشود! یک جاهایی هم باید حرص بخوری که انگار نه انگار این انگلیسیها، استعمارگرند!!! تنها تفاوت شاید این باشد که یک نفر از پدر و مادری انگلیسی به دنیا میآید و مشکل بزرگ زندگیاش «معنا» است! اما دیگری از پدر و مادری هندی زاده میشود و هرچیزی در زندگیاش مشکل است، جز «معنا»! چیزی که در هند زیاد است، خداست! ...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
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Courtney H.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Reihaneh Saremi
کتاب مانند اکثر آثار هنری نمادین، وزن داستانی کمرنگی داشت و در عوض ظرافتهای هنری بیشتر.
داستان بیآنکه اشاره مستقیمی بکند روایت حال و احوال هند است در اثنای استعمار و پس از استقلال. دو روایت موازی که در رفت و برگشتهای مدام تلاش دارد مقایسهای میان آنچه هند بود و آنچه هند است انجام دهد.
هندی که میتوانست مقهور کند و شیفته آنچنان که کشیدن بار نامش سخت دشوار است و هندی مفلوک مفلس و مقهور که تا قلههای افتخارات خودش را نیز تقدیم بیگانگان کرده است.
نگاه جالبی ست که نشان میدهد هند مستقل، از حیث جاذبه و زیبا
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
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب فوقالعاده جذاب بود. بسیار پر کشش. پرش بین دو زمان و شباهتهای بینشون خیلی جالب بود. ولی ۴ ستاره دادم چون نفهمیدم آخرش هدف داستان چی بود!
دلایل انتخابهای اولیویا رو نمیتونستم تحلیل کنم. ضمن اینکه داستان بیشتر تعریف میکرد که چه اتفاقی افتاد. خیلی به اینکه احساسات اولیویا به چه شکل تغییر میکنند و در درونش چی میگذره نپرداخته بود.
Leslie Reese
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Ben Batchelder
Dec 13, 2016 rated it did not like it

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
Aban (Aby)
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kilian Metcalf
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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  • Holiday
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  • Staying On
  • The Old Devils
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  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • G.
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  • Offshore
  • How Late it Was, How Late
  • Sacred Hunger (Sacred Hunger #1)
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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, CBE was a Booker prize-winning novelist, short story writer, and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter. She was 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
“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.” 2 likes
“The landscape which, a few weeks earlier, had been blotted out by dust was now hazy with moisture.” 1 likes
More quotes…