Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's archive in London is a literary treasure trove

Opinion about her writing has swung widely between stinging criticism and gushing praise

British Library
Photo courtesy: British Library

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala spent her formative and arguably most productive literary years in India. India was where she truly embarked on her long and successful journey as a writer.  Her portrayals of the complex nuances of Indian culture, in fact, led many to assume that she was Indian. Apparently, sales of her books declined after her true identity was revealed and critics rushed to accuse her of “Orientalism” and “old-fashioned colonial attitudes”. Given Jhabvala’s long personal and professional association with India, and the profound influence ...