rumer-godden

Also, yesterday was a Very Good Day of sun, sea and pebble-walking in which I saw (externally): (i) E. F. Benson’s house (the one aggressively branded as the home of Henry James – but it was also, later, Benson’s then, later still, Rumer Godden’s). (ii) Radclyffe Hall’s house, because these dudes all hung out in the same town. (iii) And Derek Jarman’s famous garden. Keith was there doing the gardening, too, but we didn’t want to disturb him.

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.
—  Rumer Godden
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.
—  Rumer Godden
On and off, all that hot French August, we made ourselves ill from eating the greengages. Joss and I felt guilty; we were still at the age when we thought being greedy was a childish fault, and this gave our guilt a tinge of hopelessness because, up to then, we had believed that as we grew older our faults would disappear, and none of them did.
—  The Greengage Summer, by Rumer Godden
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.
—  Rumer Godden
We watched while the mademoiselle did the carton up in white paper, tying it with golden thread and sealing it with a golden seal. It seemed inexpressively elegant to us.
“Don’t you get tired of using that word?” asked Eliot when I said this to him, but we did not.
“They don’t do boxes up like that in Southstone,” said Joss.
“The French understand living,” said Eliot.
—  The Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden. 


Antonella Masetti Lucarella

“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.”

Rumer Godden

septembersung  asked:

If you were to write up a list (of any length) of your personal favorites or best recommendations of Catholic fiction, what would be on it?

There are a couple of interpretations of “Catholic fiction” that are worth exploring. 

  • The author is Catholic. 
    • The work may or may not be Catholic.
    • Example: For at least part of his life, F. Scott Fitzgerald was Catholic. Would you consider The Great Gatsby Catholic fiction? 
  • The work is Catholic or has Catholicism in it. 
    • This can mean A) the work is in line with Catholic teaching/themes/events/etc., OR correctly presents Catholic teaching, etc. in the book, intentionally or unintentionally; or B) Catholic teaching, etc. are in the book, but they are inaccurate.
    • Much of C.S. Lewis’ works fall into category A. 
    • Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is firmly in category B. Dan Brown wrote about Catholicism in the same way that L. Ron Hubbard wrote about science. 

Read and recommended

  • The Father Brown stories, G.K.Chesterton. There are 5 collections of Fr. Brown short stories: The Wisdom of Father Brown, The Innocence of Fr. Brown, etc. Also worth looking at is Chesterton’s novel The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare.
  • Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky. This is a novella (or short story?) that may give you a nasty shock. I have always been unnerved by how much I have in common with the narrator. The Brothers Karamazov is also an essential. Make sure you get good translations of Dostoevsky’s works!
  • The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas. So many subplots, but the book hinges on forgiveness, and how to forgive.
  • Silence, Shusaku Endo. Do not read Silence and The Power and the Glory back to back, like I did. 
  • In This House of Brede, Rumer Godden. I know that I can make some sweeping, melodramatic statements, but I just want to say that this is easily one of the best books of the 20th century. 
  • The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene. I hated this book when I first read it, and I resented its popularity. I reread it last year, and I was aghast to find that I enjoyed it tremendously.
  • The Little World of Don Camillo, Giovanni Guareschi. Very funny. Mercilessly mocks fascists. 
  • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo. Ponderously long, but Catholic in its understanding of love and the relationship between the self and the other.
  • Shadow in the Dark, Anthony Barone Kolenc. This book is for younger readers, but it’s still a delightful read. A murder mystery unfolds in a 12th century English monastery. Good writing, good characters, and a well-paced plot. 
  • The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis. Also worth looking at by Lewis are the Space Trilogy, Till We Have Faces, and The Great Divorce.
  • The Princess and the Goblin, George Macdonald. He also wrote one of my favorite fairy tales/short stories - The Golden Key.
  • The Edge of Sadness, Edwin O’Connor. O’Connor and Spellman are never on Catholic fiction lists, which is a total tragesty. I recommend this book especially for cradle Catholics. O’Connor gets under your skin and pinpoints assumptions about the Faith and about people that you may not have been aware of. It’s one of the best portrayals of depression, too. 
  • Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz. I read this ages ago, and do not have fond memories of it. Nevertheless, it has been recommended by those whom I trust. 
  • The Foundling, Francis Cardinal Spellman. I consider myself an expert on “essential Catholic fiction!” lists, and I have never, ever seen this book mentioned. That is a crime. I think this is the funniest book by a Catholic that I’ve ever read. Literal laugh-out-loud moments, as well as heatbreaking moments. The book can be hard, because the rules about adoption and denominations are not as rigid now. (The book hinges on the fact that non-Catholic parents cannot adopt a Catholic child.)
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Also worth reading is the novel The Hobbit, and the short story Leaf by Niggle.
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy. A short story about a man on his deathbed. Painful, bitter, uncomfortable, but important.   
  • Sun Slower, Sun Faster, Meriol Trevor. Time traveling kids! Hunted priests! Medieval Catholicism!

Not yet read, but critical to the canon of Catholic fiction

  • Lord of the World, Robert Hugh Benson
  • Diary of a Country Priest, Georges Bernanos
  • Death Comes for the Archbisop, Willa Cather
  • The Spear, Louis de Wohl
  • The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  • Thomas Mann 
  • Ralph Mcinerny 
  • Michael D. O’Brien
  • Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor
  • The Second Coming, Walker Percy
  • The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael series, Ellis Peters
  • Kristin Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset
  • Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh. Waugh also has a hilarious short short story (it’ll take about 30 minutes to read, if that) called Love Among the Ruins. [AN: Please don’t ostracize me for not finishing this yet.]

Serious reservations, but worth knowing 

  • Regina Doman. Doman writes fairy tales; she reimagines them through a Catholic lens. I wrote about her elsewhere, but here are my reservations: I heard her speak before I read her, and I loved her argument for evangelizing the imagination. When I actually read her works, I was wildly unimpressed. Her writing is not for me, which is a matter of opinion, but I have stronger objections to how she portrays some of the young women. The moment fixed forever in my mind is how Doman described a high school girl who bullied our painfully shy, virtuous protagonist. Doman made special note of the evil bully’s makeup - especially the green eyeshadow. The book harped on how our protagonist didn’t wear makeup, how she shopped at thrift stores, and how those mean bullies wore fashionable, immodest clothing. Her books seemed sanctimonious, flimsy, and saccharine to me. Again, it’s good to at least know of her. Maybe you’ll read her, love her, and write a defense of her that proves me wrong!   
  • The Song at the Scaffold, Gertrude von le Fort. Literarily speaking, this is a wonderful play. Historically speaking, it leaves much to be desired. The play is about the Carmelites of Compeigne, guillotined during the French Revolution. What frustrates me about the play is that reality is incredibly interesting - why did von le Fort remove, create, and totally change characters? I strongly urge you, if you’re interested in this play, to read William Bush’s introduction to To Quell the Terror first. 

Links to more lists

I’m sure there are more - friends, please add on your suggestions!

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.
—  Rumer Godden