For her first novel in more than nine years, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has written a most unusual book in a career of distinctive and unique accomplishments. My Nine Lives is "Chapters of a Possible Past," as the subtitle declares. It is, as the author has commented, a book filled with "invented memories." Nine vignettes are linked to portray a rich life filled with searching, from London to Delhi, from Hollywood to New York. Each chapter gathers a different cast of characters, some new and some vaguely familiar, and the linked assembly is as exciting and illuminating as an artist's first show at a Soho gallery or a new play at the Studio Theater.
After seventeen books, now in her 77th year, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala takes herself on as a subject, and the life she may have or may have wished to live. My Nine Lives is a moving and intriguing book of invention and memory.
"A writer of genius...a writer of world class...a master storyteller." "Jhabvala name-drops 'Chekov, ' and this is no pretension given the grace of her spiraling plots, the depth of her psychology, the elegance of her humor, the subtlety of her eroticism, and her masterfully concise descriptions of imperiled households, eccentric personalities, sexual enthrallment, unexpected alliances, and transcendent love."