Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Quotes

  • I'm not interested in who am I. I'm interested in what's gone, the disinheritance, what I've been able to become or learn or fuse with or not fuse with. A certain freedom comes... I like it that way.
  • I only really woke up in India. It was my first experience of plenty, strangely enough, because everything in England was rationed. I loved sweets, but you couldn't get them; then there was this marvelous mitthai - I went crazy.
  • I never really had any close friends in India, and I felt a terrible loneliness and isolation for many years. Westernized Indians don't like my books and I tend not to like westernized Indians - so we're quits.
  • All my early books are written as if I were Indian. In England, I had started writing as if I were English; now I write as if I were American. You take other people's backgrounds and characters; Keats called it negative capability.
  • Everyone is so estranged; no one is rooted. That's what I like to write about more than anything else. Everything being so mixed up. Racially mixed up, people moving from place to place, everything shifting.
  • Perhaps I'm just fickle by nature and get tired of countries the way other women do of husbands or lovers.
  • England opened up the world of literature for me. Not really having a world of my own, I made up for my disinheritance by absorbing the world of others... I loved them: George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens... I adopted them passionately.
  • I like characters who are larger-than-life, whether life-loving women or the artist or guru who grabs everything. But I don't live among people like that.
  • Film is not like a book; it's not a writer's baby at all. So many people have put in their talent, by that time that you feel grateful for what they've done, you don't feel possessive about it in any way.
  • I stand before you as a writer without any ground of being out of which to write: really blown about from country to country, culture to culture till I feel - till I am - nothing. As it happens, I like it that way.
  • I am a central European with an English education and a deplorable tendency to constant self-analysis. I am irritable and have weak nerves.
  • Once a refugee, always a refugee. I can't ever remember not being all right wherever I was, but you don't give your whole allegiance to a place or want to be entirely identified with the society you're living in.
  • The older books were quite light-hearted. But I think most of my novels do end on a deep note of pessimism. Shadows seem to be closing in. The final conclusion isn't that life is wonderful and everything is bright and cheery and in the garden.
  • One doesn't choose to become a writer. One is just born that way.
  • India was a sensation. It was remarkable to see all those parrots flying about, the brilliant foliage and the brilliant sky. It was a tremendous pageant. I never noticed the poverty.
  • England gave me a language and literature, the basis of what I am as a writer, but when I started writing more directly about my own experience, it wasn't England so much as what went before.
  • The misfortune to be born when I was, where I was. That was a piece of bad luck.
  • I was never interested in film. Never. I never even thought of it. I wasn't even a film buff, I didn't see many films ever.