Heat and Dust

ebook A Novel

By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

cover image of Heat and Dust

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Booker Prize Winner

“A superb . . . moving and profound” novel from the two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter of A Room with a View and Howard’s End (The Times)

Reminiscent of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, this stunning love story intertwines the narratives of two women—one in the 1920s, one in the 1970s—and their relationship to India.
Partly set 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 Nawab’s 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 child's 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