For her first novel in more than nine years, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has written a most unusual book in a career of distinctive and unique accomplishments. My Nine Lives is “Chapters of a Possible Past,” as the subtitle declares. It is, as the author has commented, a book filled with “invented memories.” Nine vignettes 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 Soho gallery or a new play at the Studio Theater. After seventeen books, now in her 77th year, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala takes on as her subject herself, the life she may have or may have wished to live.