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Poet and Dancer

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A haunting tale of the complex and perilous relations between two young cousins, Angel and Lara. A masterful novel which explores the dangers of love and commitment.

Angel is dark and plain, introverted and submissive, a spontaneous composer of childish verses, wholly consumed by the wild, seductive spell of her cousin Lara - a beautiful, irresponsible creature who expresses herself in free-form dance.

What begins as a tender and intimate attachment between two young girls deepens in adulthood into something complex and perilous, as Lara's life spins in increasingly erratic circles while Angel's passionate devotion to her remains undiminished. It is a feverish and impenetrable relationship, of reckless master and willing slave, one forged to shield both Angel and Lara from the harshness of their surroundings, as well as from the far greater terrors of the self. It is a relationship that will end in terror for the young women, and for their families.

Set against the vivid, dream-like landscape of of Manhattan in the recent past, Poet and Dancer is an altogether unforgettable novel, written with the subtlety, wry humour and beauty that are the hallmarks of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant novelists and storytellers.

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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 also wrote more than a dozen screenplays, including Howard's End and A Room with a View, for both of which she received an Academy Award. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala died in 2013.

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