Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is a novelist of unequalled insight, grace and emotional power. My Nine Lives represents a new and fascinating strand in her outstanding canon of work: as she puts it, the 'potentially autobiographical'. Here she brilliantly explores nine possible lives, in differing cultural contexts. While each is located in deeply familiar territory: whether in England, India, or America, and often overlaid with that essential Central European family background, each life is born of startlingly different origins and each reveals a different destiny. Here are nine different answers to the central question: what would happen if I were granted an alternative life?
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born in Germany of Polish parents and came to England in 1939 at the age of twelve. She graduated from Queen Mary College, London University, and married the Indian architect C.S.H. Jhabvala. They lived in Delhi from 1951 to 1975. Since then they have divided their time between Delhi, New York and London. As well as her numerous novels and short stories, in collaboration with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has written scripts for film and television, including A Room with a View and Howards End, both of which are Academy Award winners. She won the Booker Prize for Heat and Dust in 1975, the Neil Gunn International Fellowship in 1978, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1984 and was made a CBE in the 1998 New Year's Honours List.