Let’s celebrate the birthday of Booker Prize winning novelist and writer of over 25 screenplays, including two Academy Award-winning screenplays, Howards End and A Room with a View, as well as Remains of the Day – Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. To honor the occasion, I’m sharing a passage from her Booker Prize winning book, Heat and Dust, where she takes her readers through a party game. Enjoy!

“Now he was in an excellent mood and the party began to go with a swing. The servants had unpacked the picnic hampers, filling the sacred grove with roasted chickens, quails, and potted shrimps. The young men were very lively and entertained sometimes with practical jokes which they played on each other, and sometimes with songs and Urdu verses. One of them had brought a lute-like instrument out of which he plucked some bittersweet notes. The lute also provided the music for the game of musical chairs they played, with cushions laid in a row. It happened – whether by accident or design Olivia didn’t know – that she and the Nawab were the last two players left. Very, very slowly they circled around the one remaining cushion, keeping their eyes on each other, each alert to what the other might do next. Everyone watched, the lute played. For a moment she thought that, as an act of courtesy, he was going to let her win; but quite suddenly – he heard the music stop before she did – he flung himself on the one remaining cushion. He had won! He laughed out loud and threw up both his arms in triumph. He was really tremendously pleased.”

Excerpt, Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

I’m so glad to celebrate another masterful story tellers special day here at Fodder for Fiction.

Best to you,

Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Author of Smart Women’s Fiction


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