I just finished reading Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. She is pretty well known as a screenwriter for Merchant/Ivory films and this book won the Booker Prize in 1975. Heat and Dust is about a young British woman who goes to India to follow the path of her Grandfather’s first wife who left him for an Indian ‘Prince.’ The book shuffles back and forth between present day and the 1920s. I found it to be very well written and well crafted but none of the characters were particularly arresting, nor where the environs.
Before this I read Anita and Me by Meera Syal, about a young 10 year-old Indian girl in Midlands England. Although this was a rough, first novel by a young woman I was much more involved with the characters. They really grabbed me and when the little girl felt pain, I felt pain. This book was much more daring than Heat and Dust, writing from the 10 year olds' point of view and using regional dialect.
Next I am going to move away from India but stay with England. Vivian just lent me The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe. I loved his book, The Rotters’ Club