Stanley Reads Book Club - Spring 2021

Image of two books seen from above such that their covers create an "S"
February 6, 2021 - 2:00pm
February 20, 2021 - 2:00pm
March 6, 2021 - 2:00pm
March 20, 2021 - 2:00pm
April 17, 2021 - 2:00pm
May 1, 2021 - 2:00pm

Stanley Reads puts the museum’s recent exhibitions in conversation with literature. This spring we will read At the End of the Century: Stories of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and consider connections to the Waswo X. Waswo Collection of Indian Printmaking and other works from the Stanley’s collection.

Stanley Reads is led by Kimberly Datchuk, curator of learning & engagement, and is presented in partnership with Prairie Lights Books.

At the End of the Century: Stories of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is a posthumously compiled short story collection that addresses family, class, post-Independence India, and the lingering effects of colonialism. The collection is global in scope, covering India, the UK, and New York through vivid characters. Jhabvala writes from the perspective of someone who lived much of her life in India and raised her children there. Her status as a long-time resident coupled with her keen observation gave her access to many parts of Indian life; yet she remained aware of her position as an outsider. 

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927–2013) wrote novels and short stories, but she may be best known for her screenplays for which she received two Academy Awards. Born in Germany, Jhabvala and her family immigrated to the UK in 1939. In 1951, she and her husband Cyrus Jhabvala moved to New Delhi, India. She remained in India for twenty-four years. She frequently wrote about social mores, customs, and Western influence in her adopted country. In 1975, she moved to New York, where she lived until her death in 2013. 

As a companion to At the End of the Century, we recommend Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition, by Nisid Hajari. This book will provide further context about post-Independence Indian history from the point of view of someone who was born and lives in India.

Registration required for the event series. Zoom links will be emailed on the Wednesday prior to each event. All who register after that time, will be registered for the following meeting.

Register now for Stanley Reads: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eVwG5txkj4P19ml

Spring 2021 schedule:

February 6: Introduction by Anita Desai [optional – includes spoilers for short stories], Loss of Faith, The Widow, A Spiritual Call (pp. 3–80).

February 20: Miss Sahib, A Course of English Studies, An Experience of India (pp. 81–156).

March 6: Two More under the Indian Sun, Desecration, Expiation (pp. 157–226).

March 20: Great Expectations, Two Muses, Ménage (pp. 227–319). Guest moderator Derek Nnuro.

[April 3 Passover & Easter Holidays – NO MEETING]      

April 17: A Choice of Heritage, A Lovesong for India, Pagans (pp. 321–394).

May 1: At the End of the Century, The Judge’s Will (pp. 395–437).