Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1975 Booker Prize Winner

Heat and Dust by Prawer Jhabvala


Publisher: John Murray

Length: 192 pages

About: Tracing 50 year old Indian scandal

Style: 1st & 3rd person

Where: India

When: 1920s & 1970s


Publisher’s synopsis:

Set in India, Heat and Dust is the story of Olivia, a beautiful, spoiled, bored English colonial wife in the 1920s who is drawn inexorably into the spell of the Nawab, a minor Indian prince deeply involved in plots and intrigues. Olivia outrages the tiny, suffocating town where her husband is a civil servant by eloping with the captivating Nawab. It is also the story of Olivia’s step-granddaughter who, fifty years later, is drawn to India by her fascination with the letters left behind by the now dead older woman, and by her obsession with solving the enigma of Olivia’s scandal.



Douglas' voice, firm and manly, rose above the rest. When he spoke, the others confined themselves to murmurs of agreement. He must have made some jokes, because every now and again they all laughed in polite unison. Sometimes he seemed to speak rather more sternly and then the murmurs became very low and submissive till he made another joke whereupon they dissolved in relieved laughter. It was almost as if Douglas were playing a musical instrument of which he had entirely mastered the stops.




This is a short novel but an extraordinarily rich one…. The major and minor themes of fertility and of suttee, the woman's final act of self-sacrifice, are both beautifully and lightly handed. The novel moves to its close with a casualness suited to the diary form round which it is constructed yet with a very real sense of attainment.

Brigid Allen, Times Literary Supplement, 7th January 1975


Not so good:

The novel was entertaining enough but ultimately too neat for me. I’ve read other books that were more instructive on Indian culture and tradition and on the ways and means of the British Raj and its aftermath. Perhaps the focus on women was what grabbed the judges. I don’t know. This book was not one I would have awarded a prize to—particularly in a year when the judges saw fit to nominate only two books.

Reading the Bookers, June Starr, 22nd August 2011 for full review click here


About the author

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born in May 1927 in Germany. In 1984 she won a BAFTA award for Best Screenplay for the Merchant Ivory filmed adaptation of Heat and Dust. In 1986, she received the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for A Room With a View and in 1990 she won the Best Screenplay Award from the New York Film Critics Circle for Mr.& Mrs. Bridge. Jhabvala received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Howards End and was nominated for an Oscar for her adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.





























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<1974> -  <1976>















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Age guide: 15



Novels by same author:




Film directed by James Ivory





2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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