Like Jhumpa Lahriri, Monica Ali, and Arundhati Roy, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has long captured the Western-Indian experience. In this expansive story collection, Jhabvala continues her lifelong meditation on East and West. Set in India, England, and New York City, A Lovesong for India reveals what unites us across oceans, cultures, and lifetimes.
In “Innocence,” an older couple, whose social standing is marred from a decades-old scandal, rents out rooms in their Delhi home for both companionship and income. Isolated and battling blame and guilt, the couple becomes deeply invested in the lives of their two tenants. With the addition of a third renter—a beautiful and provocative woman from India—tensions in the household push the story to its feverish conclusion.
The story “Talent” finds Jhabvala in New York City reflecting on the friction between family and societal expectations. Magda is a talent scout whose entire life is her work until she meets Ellie, a singer whose immense ability and unguarded personality captivate Magda. Soon Ellie is integrated into Magda’s extended family for better or worse.
Remarkable and unwavering, this collection is the hallmark of Jhabvala’s celebrated career and a testament to her “balance, subtlety, wry humor, and beauty” (New York Times).