The last two stories in Jhabvala’s 1976 collection, How I Became a Holy Mother, foreshadow the next novel, Heat and Dust, in which the demon-lover theme is treated again. Heat and Dust consists of two chronological settings of the same story, two treatments which stress, respectively, the tragic and the comic aspects of eros. As my discussion will make clearer, the ‘old’ story emphasises the tragic, the ‘new’ the comic. And as if to prepare for this double vision, the last two stories in the collection immediately preceding the novel deal, respectively, with the same issues. Thus ‘How I Became a Holy Mother’, foreshadows Heat and Dust’s ‘new story’ — the absurd comedy of erotic connections. The heroine emerges triumphant, as the title indicates. ‘Desecration’ foreshadows the ‘old’ story in the later novel, the tragic illicit affair of a married woman.
KeywordsSexual Knowledge Popular Song Dinner Party Comic Aspect Chronological Setting
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