BLACK NARCISSUS by Rumer Godden
Kirkus Star

BLACK NARCISSUS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Some will say that this does not belong under the classification of Must Books. But -- if I were a bookseller -- I should have fun selling this book to those customers who want something off the beaten track, and who relish a unique literary experience. Not a book for headline reviews and big sales, but a book whose popularity will spread by word of mouth publicity, a book that discerning readers will make their own. It is a strange and fascinating book; the story revolves around the attempt on the part of some Anglo-Catholic sisters to establish a teaching and nursing convent near Darjeeling. Once there, confronted with ignorance and indifference, with a ruler eager to cooperate but not knowing how to go about it, with his representative, the omnipresent Mr. Dean, who breaks all the rules -- and gets away with it, with the General's irresistible nephew, ambitious, glamorous, weak, and above all, with the mountains effecting the Sisters in incalculable ways -- the convent fails to materialize as invisioned by its acting Superior, Sister Clodagh. Emotional problems arise; the Sisters emerge as human beings; the story of their recreation is an absorbing one. A book that is utterly and refreshingly different; an author that is sensitive to the sights and sounds and scents of the Himalayas; and an unusual story, combining an understanding of human values and a keen sense of underlying humor. The sort of book that should be read to be sold; definitely a booksellers' find type of book. Don't miss it.

Pub Date: July 10th, 1939
Publisher: Little, Brown