THE MASK OF A LION by A.T.W Simeons
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THE MASK OF A LION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the opening pages of this first novel of India, the reader follows the peaceful and majestic passage of a Sacred Cow through the exotic, and aromatic bazaar of the town. And as surely and swiftly as American readers have known the enchantment of Pearl Buck's China, Just so will they find themselves immediately spellbound by the wonder the and texture of A.T.W. Simeons' India. Written by an English doctor, who was head of an Indian leprosarium, the ""mask of a lion"" refers to the curious leonine expression of the leper. It is at once a moving love story, the record of a man who is outlawed by his society when he contracts ""The Great Disease"", and- more especially- the exultant progress of the soul in spite of the malevolent flesh which would destroy it. We follow Govind, the tailor, as he is forced into exile by his illness and joins the lepers begging on the temple steps, a troupe of wanderers headed by Bapu whose undaunted spirit mocks his diseased body. Govind wanders with this band until Bapu, feeling that he will be cured, insists that he leave them before the dread monsoon season in which the disease becomes active. He reluctantly enters a leper's asylum, run by American Protestant missionaries, but discouraged with his progress rejoins the troupe and wanders across the country which is being destroyed by cholera and plague. He takes Seeta, the unmarred child of leprous parents, as his mistress, but with her pregnancy- he goes on alone. He comes to the ""park"" -- a leprosarium run by a doctor, and there his body and his spirit mend, but Seeta's death writes a tragic finish to his cure.... A deeply moving story of the ""living dead"" to which experience and compassion and literary artistry lend power.

Publisher: Knopf