Wednesday, January 9, 2008

3. A House with Four Rooms


By Rumer Godden
Rated 4 Stars

In her second volume of memoirs, following a A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep , Godden provides a lively, engaging view of postwar literary and publishing trends as a backdrop to her own personal and creative development. In 1945, her marriage over, she returned home to England from India with two children and few possessions; however, with an unwavering commitment to her writing, she embarked on a career which brought international recognition and acclaim for her adult and children's books. She speaks lovingly of those who encouraged her over the years, including her sister Jon, London agent Spencer Curtis Brown, Viking publishing president Ben Huebsch (her "literary father"), and the late James Haynes-Dixon, with whom she enjoyed a sturdy second marriage. She also recounts in colorful detail her collaboration with French director Jean Renoir during the filming of her novel The River in California and on location in India. We part company with her in the late 1970s as she moves to Scotland. Godden's travels and experiences are related with warmth and insight, and she offers an interesting perspective on the major publishing figures of our time.
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