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Sunday, June 2, 2013

BLACK NARCISSUS by RUMER GODDEN



I first read about this book on Cornflower Books. I love her recommendations but sadly very often cannot find the books as she does get the latest and the best. This of course is a publication of sometime ago and the author is a prolific one (one to whom I am going back again to).

It has to be my convent upbringing that draws me to anything to do with nuns, convents and the colonial past. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, a group of nuns intrepid as always set out to establish a convent, a dispensary and a school in a very remote village. The Palace as it was called has been donated to them by a General (local aristocrat) who wishes that it be used for something good. 

The fact that a group of Brothers had been occupying the palace before and failed in their attempts to establish themselves,  though puzzling to the sisters is not a deterrent. Under the brave Sister Clodagh these sisters are determined to succeed. They are not new to India themselves but they obviously do not think of understanding the psyche of the countrymen whom they are going to work with but are only thinking of their own goals and ideals. 

Apparent from the beginning that the two communities are not thinking on the same lines and that each works with the other for their own personal gains, the book is a study of different characters who work together sometimes at odds with each other and sometimes harmoniously.

Descriptive detail of both surroundings as well as people, this was a wonderful book. I understand this is a book which is difficult to obtain but there is a film version which may be more accessible.

On another book note, I picked up a Kingsolver book thinking it was Flight Behaviour. I do not know where my mind was as it is very clearly Prodigal Summer which I have read before. So that went back to the library!

3 comments:

Noelle the dreamer said...

I seem to recall an old movie with such a title Mystica but the book sounds far better! Thanks for sharing!
(if you're already with the children, have a good time Dear! Enjoy every moment!!)

bermudaonion said...

I bet my mother would love this book too!

sakura said...

I've had this on my wishlist for a while and am dying to read it. I recall reading that it's a tragedy but I'm not sure. Thanks for the reminder!