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Kingfishers Catch Fire

A Virago Modern Classic
  • Author
    • Rumer Godden
Regular price £9.99
Regular price Sale price £9.99

'A haunting tale . . . the whole book burns with the beauty and poetry' EVENING STANDARD

'Powerful adult themes underlie the novel's glimmering surface' ROSIE THOMAS, GUARDIAN

'One of our best and most captivating novelists' PHILIP HENSHER

Sophie Barrington Ward, without a husband, with two children and very little income, is faced with making a new life. She arrives in the Eden of Himalayan Kashmir to set up home in a tumbledown cottage surrounded by flowers and herbs. Settling down to live quietly, frugally and peacefully with her new neighbours, she is unaware of the turmoil her arrival provokes as the villagers compete fiercely for her patronage. Sophie is determined to live with the Indians and like it. Pundit Pramatha Kaul, her wise landlord, shakes his head. Profit David, her merchant friend, warns her. But when Sophie's cook makes a drastic bid to secure his position, the unwanted consequences are catastrophic . . .

Mesmerising and thoughtful, this Godden's lesser-known classic evokes India's uniquely beautiful landscape amidst a timeless tale of misunderstanding.

Not available for shipping to the following countries:

  • ASM
  • GUM
  • MNP
  • UMI
  • FSM
  • MHL
  • PHL
  • PRI
  • USA
  • VIR
  • Published: Feb 07 2013
  • Pages: 320
  • 198 x 130mm
  • ISBN: 9781844088423
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Press Reviews

  • Daily Telegraph
    A haunting tale . . . the whole book burns with the beauty and poetry of a matchless landscape, but the human side of it is wry, delicate and true
  • Evening Standard
    [Godden has] a genius for storytelling
  • New York Times
    Her craftsmanship is always sure; her understanding of character is compassionate and profound; her prose is pure, delicate, and gently witty
  • Irish Times
    Godden has never been out of print
  • Los Angeles Times
    All [Godden's novels] have one important thing in common: They are beautifully and simply wrought by a woman of depth and sensitivity
  • Publishers Weekly
    Godden's 1953 novel of Colonial India depicts an independent but naive British widow living in a village in Kashmir polarized by conflicting Hindus and Muslims
  • Rosie Thomas

    Powerful adult themes underlie the novel's glimmering surface. I devoured them as a teenager, racing through the stories and revelling in the lush landscapes and exotic peoples in the (then) certainty that I would never see them for myself. It's hard to think that I appreciated any of their true qualities. They have repaid rereading as an adult, and they will continue to reward both returning readers and new ones: such is their narrative grip, subtlety and understanding of the human state
  • Independent
    The Novel Cure for extravagance . . . romanticises frugality in Godden's novel - in a way which is surprisingly contagious