Shakuntala is a young Indian woman who returns to post-Independence Delhi from Oxford University. Sketching a gallery of fascinating and distinctive characters against a rich background, she draws the contrast between two very different families and ...
their daily lives -- their squabbles, their politics, their love affairs, their expectations. She brings to life the nostalgic Englishman Esmond Stillwood, also the beautiful Gulab and her son Ravi, the elderly Uma, and Shakuntala's family and the neighbours Ram Nath and Lakshmi. A master of both the comic and the serious, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has constructed a richly ripe Indian comedy of manners. She strips bare that certain section of affluent Indian society which is particularly vulnerable to the seductions of an imperial presence, and brilliantly and wittily crystallizes some of the confusions that bedevilled India at the dawn of Independence.