Abstract

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, whose Polish roots have penetrated deeply into the Indian soil during the twenty-four years that she has lived and written in Delhi, works chiefly in two genres of fiction: novels and stories set in middle-class Delhi (or, more recently, Bombay) whose characters are chiefly Indian by birth, and whose themes centre upon the conflicts generated in every-day life by such Indian institutions as the joint-family system or the Indian version of such others as the commercial establishment or the bureaucracy; and others that focus on the experiences of foreigners· visiting or living permanently in India. How I Became a Holy Mother includes examples of both genres, while Heat and Dust belongs to the second. The reader who is familiar with Mrs Jhabvala's earlier work will be aware of the immense advances she has made in her art of seemingly artless story-telling, with no sacrifice of subtlety or seriousness and a significant increase in the tolerance and understanding that has always accompanied even her most mordant satire.

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