Though with a somewhat fictional tone, this has the indubitable mark of authentic autobiography, and is remarkable as presenting convent life as it appears at first hand. It is the story of a Swiss girl of twenty in a small town who for rather nebulous reasons determines to enter a convent. This is the record of her year there, a year in which she attempts in all sincerity to convince herself of a vocation, And here is an extremely simple, graceful portrait of life behind the walls, the endless persecution of the flesh, fasts, rigorous diets, the gradual transformation of young girls into ill-balanced women who nurture repressions, illusions, fantasies, and gradually break, physically and mentally, with hysteria and tuberculosis rampant. It is a discomfitting book destroying as it does the illusion that these women attain the peace they seek. It is a tragic and wholly sympathetic appraisal of a world behind bars, with nothing held up to scorn or laughter. Her year is enough -- she runs away to marry the boy she loved.