Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Chameleon on the Page and in Life

The acclaimed author and Academy Award-winning screenwriter made up for not really having a world of her own by absorbing the worlds of others.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the prize-winning novelist and screenwriter who died on April 3 at age 85, lived on three continents and inhabited multiple worlds. She was a natural chameleon, donning saris and dissecting Indian society with a local’s intimacy, immersing herself in the works of E.M. Forster and channeling his sophistication for moviegoers to iconic effect.