THE YEAR OF LOVE by Margaret Lee Runbeck


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Margaret Lee Runbeck's novel on life in an India touched by the magic wand of the West is compounded of plot, morals and sentiment in her dependable style. The ""year of love"" refers to the marriage of Soni, beautiful and good daughter of the upright village farmer Gopal, who swallows pride and borrows money to buy the pearl her rich prospective father-in-law Rama requests in return for his beloved son Anand. Gopal too asks for a favor -- that Rama give Anand a special plot of land as his part of the bargain, but Rama fails to keep his promise, deeding the land to the elder son Govind when Soni bears Anand a daughter instead of the desired son. Anand, imbued with modern ideas from the mission where he has worked, returns to the land but retains his belief in learning and in freeing women from their inferior position. On the night the frenzied Gopal (who has lost his own land to fire after a cholera epidemic) discloses Rama's betrayal, Anand., cursing himself for failing to take the business of the world upon him, becomes fatally ill -- Soni fails to find help at the mission and sacrifices her child to the temple in vain. An outcast widow she recalls Anand's teachings and goes to the mission to offer her existence in its causes -- and finds her child there. Emphasizing the place of women, this appeals to the feminine audience, but one feels that there is an outward show of the paraphernalia of custom and religion rather than an inward conception of the spiritual and phenomenal India which is so rewardingly expressed in Nectar in a Sieve.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1955
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin