This brilliant collection spans two worlds – the restless, aspiring society of New York’s Upper East Side and the world of India’s capital city, New Delhi, where the old India symbolized by Gandhi’s spinning wheel is giving way to one powered by industry and property development. A rich cast of characters inhabits these stories – Indian businessmen and holy women, students, society hostesses and ambitious young politicians; New Yorkers preoccupied with money yet also in search of meaning – anxious and often manipulative parents, alienated children, men and women struggling with their longings and failures and their complicated sex lives.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s quiet but insistent probing goes to the very heart of her characters, showing us all their complexities and contradictions. In these absorbing stories, there is a feeling of ambivalence, a subtle sensuality and a poignant sense of time passing. Like all great storytellers, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala suggests many questions but supplies no easy answers. This is a fascinating and wonderfully readable collection which is also a literary event.