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A Backward Place

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

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Prose: non-fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A classic novel from the Booker-winning author of Heat and Dust - an Indian Vanity Fair.

Six colourful, comic characters inhabit A Backward Place. All but one are Westerners who have come to Delhi to experience an alternative way of life. But, far from being hippies, their ability to adapt to this exotic culture often leaves something to be desired. Etta, an aristocratic, faded beauty maintains her Parisian chic while Clarissa talks enthusiastically about the simple life but stops short of ever roughing it herself. On the other hand Bal, the one Indian protagonist, holds quite Western aspirations to Hollywood glamour.

A Backward Place humorously explores contradictions in attitudes and lifestyles and the interplay between culture and individuality. But it is also a Dickensian drama, charting the highs and lows of everyday life against the enchanting backdrop of a bustling Indian city.

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Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala published twelve novels including the Booker Prize-winning Heat and Dust and five volumes of short stories. She wrote over a dozen screenplays, including Howard's End and A Room With a View, for both of which she received an Academy Award. She died in April 2013.

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