Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is a novelist of unequalled insight, grace, and emotional power. My Nine Lives, her first novel in more than nine years, is filled with “invented memories.” Nine vignettes—autobiographical fictions—are linked to portray a rich life, filled with searching, from London to Delhi, from Hollywood to New York. Each chapter gathers a different cast of characters, some new and some vaguely familiar, and the linked assembly is as exciting and illuminating as an artist’s first show at a Chelsea gallery or a new play at the Studio Theater. After seventeen books, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala takes on as her subject herself, the life she may have or may have wished to live. My Nine Lives is a startling and intriguing book of invention and memory.
My Nine Lives
Chapters of a Possible Past
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"Magical. . . . Jhabvala is one of those rare writers who manages to be simultaneously caustic and loving with her creations." —Wall Street Journal
RUTH PRAWER JHABVALA was born of Polish parents in Germany, then moved with her family to London at the time of Hitler’s rise to power. She is the author of twelve novels, including Heat and Dust, which won the Booker Prize. She is a MacArthur Fellow and has been honored with an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has written many screenplays for Merchant-Ivory Productions, two of them earning Academy Awards.
“Each work has her hallmark of balance, subtlety, wry humor and beauty.” —New York Times Book Review
“Magical. . . . Jhabvala is one of those rare writers who manages to be simultaneously caustic and loving with her creations.” —Wall Street Journal
“An accomplished, unusual and deeply personal book.” —The Economist
“At 77, Jhabvala is writing at the top of her form, probing the deep questions of life and love with shrewd intelligence, rueful humor, compassionate understanding and insight tempered by long experience.” —Los Angeles Times
“She has been awarded all sorts of prizes and is held in the highest esteem by critics all over the world. Jhabvala’s fiction serves, always, to remind us of the universal vulnerability of mankind.” —Boston Globe
“Jhabvala has unleashed her imagination to rewrite her own past… each story is sinewy with compressed emotion and intellectual energy, as well as the poignancy of the thwarted search for love. Each can stand on its own as a finely crafted example of an accomplished storyteller’s art.” —Publishers Weekly
“Jhabvala is spellbinding, whether she’s writing her celebrated fiction or Academy Award-winning screenplays, and she now presents nine splendid variations on nine women’s lives that in some measure reflect key aspects of her own.” —Booklist