Friday, August 17, 2007

Books that deserve to be rediscovered: Part One

Two Under the Indian Sun by Jon & Rumer Godden (first published 1966)

This year, 2007, is the one hundredth anniversary of novelist Rumer Godden’s birth.

At the outbreak of the first world war, seven year old Rumer and her sister Jon left London to join the rest of their family in Narayangunj, East Bengal, (now Bangladesh) where their father worked for a steamship company. This memoir of the years from 1914 to 1919, written in collaboration with her sister Jon, is in their words, “not an autobiography as much as an evocation of a time that is gone.” Seen through the eyes of two bright, adventurous and perceptive children, it’s an extraordinarily detailed picture of life in an expatriate English family in India, in those early years of the twentieth century.

Rumer Godden’s 1946 novel The River (adapted into a movie by Jean Renoir) is very closely based on the same experiences described in Two Under the Indian Sun.

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