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.