(Margaret) Rumer Godden (1907-1998) grew up and lived most her life in an area of India so secluded that writing was one of the only things to do. She moved back to England for periods of time, but inevitably ended up in India, where she wrote, ran a dance school, and grew and sold herbal teas.
Writing made her feel alive and you can tell from her emotional, funny and energetic prose that usually teetered on the edge between real life and fiction. In Kingfishers Catch Fire she included the true story of how two of her servants tried to poison her and her daughters. She wrote over 60 books in all different styles, nine of which were made into films; many are still read and relevant today. Her later work focused on the comparison and connections of religion and everyday human life.
- The Doll’s House
- In This House of Brede tells the story of Philippa Talbot, a successful London career woman who feels the call of the religious life.
- Black Narcissus
- An Episode of Sparrows
- The Greengage Summer
- Kingfishers Catch Fire
Biographies about Rumer Godden
Articles & News
Rumer Godden Quotes
“For a dyed-in-the-wool author, nothing is as dead as a book once it is written. She is rather like a cat whose kittens have grown up.”
“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emtional, and a spiritual . Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”
“I loved Mr. Darcy far more than any of my own husbands.”
“Every piece of writing… starts from what I call a grit… a sight or sound, a sentence or happening that does not pass away… but quite inexplicably lodges in the mind.”
“When you learn to read you will be born again…and you will never be quite so alone again.”
“If books were Persian carpets, one would not look only at the outer side. Because it is the stitch that makes a carpet wear, gives it its life and bloom.”
“I have never understood why “hard work” is supposed to be pitiable. True, some work is soul destroying when it is done against the grain, but when it is part of “making” how can you grudge it? You get tired, of course, but the struggle, the challenge, the feeling of being extended as you never thought you could be is fulfilling and deeply, deeply satisfying.”
“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”
“Sometimes,’ she said, remembering that morning, ‘I write poems that are taller than I am” (The River, 1946)
“Funny … the world goes on turning, and it has all these troubles in it.” (The River, 1946)
“All our happiness is shot through with unhappiness and all our unhappiness is shot through with happiness.” (The China Court, 1960)
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