Books: Tributes of Empathy and Grace Out of India

by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala; Morrow; 288 pages; $16.95

In her introduction to this selection of 15 stories from four earlier books, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala notes the problem that faces all foreigners who settle on the subcontinent: "To live in India and be at peace, one must to a very considerable extent become Indian and adopt Indian attitudes, habits, beliefs, assume if possible an Indian personality. But how is this possible? And even if it were possible--without cheating oneself--would it be desirable? Should one want to try to become something other than what one is?"

Writing about India poses, of course, a similar dilemma. Those aspiring to something beyond costumes...

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