Customer Reviews


13 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bewitched and Beguiled
A windswept, decaying palace high in the Himalayas is given to an order of nuns for use as a convent; and so the former 'House of Women', so called because it was once used to house a harem, becomes the Convent of St Faith. The gift is a generous one and the nuns set out with the best of intentions but under the relentless, beautiful emptiness of the mountain skies and in...
Published 16 months ago by Gregory S. Buzwell

versus
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good read
this book was a fairly good read although not my favourite kind of thing. Had good portrayal of life in the Indian mountains. probably wouldn't bother to reread this tho.
Published 15 months ago by shopaholic


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bewitched and Beguiled, 14 Mar 2013
By 
Gregory S. Buzwell "bagpuss007" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
A windswept, decaying palace high in the Himalayas is given to an order of nuns for use as a convent; and so the former 'House of Women', so called because it was once used to house a harem, becomes the Convent of St Faith. The gift is a generous one and the nuns set out with the best of intentions but under the relentless, beautiful emptiness of the mountain skies and in the closed and isolated world of the convent personalities grate and clash, powerful and long repressed emotions bubble to the surface and the nuns' devout faith, belief in the importance of their mission and love of God all become dangerously entwined with doubts, earthly desires and, in the case of Sister Clodagh, the romantic allure of the past and the road not taken.

Black Narcissus works brilliantly on a number of different levels. The plot itself is fairly simple - the nuns set up their convent, begin their work of educating and helping the locals and cope, or fail to cope, with the various challenges placed in their path but the personalities of the nuns are so beautifully portrayed, and the landscape of the mountains so vividly realised, that the whole novel becomes utterly haunting and beguiling. As the book progresses and the sense of claustrophobia within the convent escalates and the terrifying empty beauty of the landscape without takes a hold aspects of the nuns' characters become amplified: Sister Honey's love for the local children drifts from charming to possessive; Sister Clodagh's innocent reflections upon a youthful love affair become dangerously intrusive and potent; and Sister Ruth's always suspect grasp on reality buckles and bows under the haunting isolation, her sense of being slighted by Sister Clodagh and her occasional encounters with the ruggedly charismatic Mr Dean, the local intermediary between the inhabitants of the mountain and the nuns. It's an intoxicating mixture of passions and emotions and as the story progresses the atmosphere within the convent changes from rural idyll to gothic horror, something made all the more powerful by the subtlety with which the author handles the shift from sunlight to shadow.

Rumer Godden, rather like her contemporary Daphne du Maurier, was blessed with a beautiful and seemingly effortless prose style. Her descriptions of landscape and her ability to portray subtle alterations of character under the influence of emotional pressure are sublime. Like a lot of people, I suspect, I knew the film version of Black Narcissus rather well while having little idea about the book on which it was based. I came to the novel hoping it would be every bit as brilliant as the film. I was in luck - it is, and it's terrific to see so much of Godden's work coming back into print. Having finished Black Narcissus it's inspiring to think I have so much more of her work to explore.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taut classic tale, 14 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
After many viewings of the film staring Deborah Kerr, I finally decided to give the original book a try. So glad I did, for I could not put it down. Much of the storyline was kept for the film, but the slightly melodramatic overtones are completely missing here to give a real sense of isolation and tension amongst the community of nuns. Super read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the movie...., 23 Sep 2013
By 
Helen Hollick "H." (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
.... love the book! Rumer Godden has a knack of being able to transport you from your living room (or bedroom, or train journey.... wherever you happen to be reading) into the very existence of her story. The characters, the place, the detail of the adventure - her books are like seeing a movie unravel in your head!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book, 30 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
The movie I hear is good but I loved the book. First adult book by Rumer Godden I have read but will look out for more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 9 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
Bearing in mind this was written such a long time ago it was still so very readable today. Rumer Godden is such an outstanding writer and this is one more of her great reads. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Black Narcissus, 31 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
Having seen the film of this book more than once I thought I would like to read the original story, had also read othe work by Rumer Goden. I am very pleased with the condition of the book and it does not have the appearance of being second-hand which is off-putting to some readers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars East meets west under a holiness bell, 21 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
excellent - spiritual Christian and eastern; human characters done without sentimentality; cold mountain wonderful descriptions; understanding of inter-cultural relations problems with great sympathy; humour
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars good, but ,,,, 7 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A lopvely read, but nothing like as good as the same author's 'The Greengage Summer', which I found absolutely magical.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashioned gothic read!, 4 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is quite an old book and I came to it via a book group but we all enjoyed it and it accelerates to an impressively gothic end. It is well written and describes characters very well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric and unjustly neglected novel., 30 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not a hit with all my book club but I enjoyed it.
Probably influenced by my convent school up-bringing and Rumer Godden's experience of living in remote communities, the magesty of the mountains and the stoicism of the people.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC)
Black Narcissus: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) by Rumer Godden (Paperback - 7 Feb 2013)
7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews