Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer JhabvalaSet 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 is intrigued by the Nawabs charm and aggressive courtship, and soon begins to spend most of her days in his company. But then she becomes pregnant, and unsure of the childs paternity, she is faced with a wrenching dilemma. Her reaction to the crisis humiliates her husband and outrages the British community, breeding a scandal that lives in collective memory long after her death.
Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala | Summary & Study Guide
In we have Olivia who, knewly married, moves to India when her husband Douglas gets a job there working for the British Government. Fifty years later, after hearing of her grandfathers first wife who disappeared, we meet an unnamed woman who wants to find out more about this mysterious Olivia and just what happened to her after she seemingly vanished and starts to follow her trail. What is so interesting about the book is how the events of both women start to mirror each other yet at the same time are completely polar experiences. They are both in the region of Khatm and yet, with the time between them, they seem like very separate worlds and ones that in each case Jhabvala sets the atmosphere incredibly. It is a world that bares almost no relation to the horrors her husband Douglas sees which the Nawab accepts which Jhabvala gives us occasional shocking glimpses of. Crawford was away on tour and Douglas on his own in charge of the district.
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Sign in. Anne is investigating the life of her grand-aunt Olivia, whose destiny has always been shrouded with scandal. The search leads back to the early s, when Olivia, recently married to Douglas, a civil servant in the colonial administration, comes to live with him in India. Slowly, Olivia becomes fascinated by India and by the local ruler, a nawab who combines British distinction with Indian pomp and ruthlessness. This fascination is not without risks: the region is being ransacked by a group of sanguinary bandits, and intrigues are opposing the prejudiced British community led by Major Minnies and Dr. Saunders against the nawab. As Anne delves into the history of her grand-aunt, she is led to reconsider her own life.