Friday, January 06, 2006

An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden

This book was more than vaguely familiar; I'm sure that I must have read it during high school, when I outgrew my incessant re-reading of Noel Streatfield and moved on to other post-WWII British women writers, including Rumer Godden and Monica Dickens.

The premise here is that a tough young Irish boy and an abandoned but proud little girl decide to build a garden together among the ruins of their impoverished, bombed-out London street. This story is interwoven with the lives of some of the adults on the street and the small triumphs and tragedies of their lives. Over the spring and summer that the garden is painstakingly tended and built up, the residents of this street and a nearby, more wealthy neighborhood become linked and the little garden ends up changing the lives of many people.

It sounds a bit trite and sentimental when I re-read my summary, and in a way I suppose it is, but at its core this is a touching story of lonely people making connections with one another and struggling on in the face of adversity. I'm looking forward to reading (or possibly re-reading) more of Rumer Godden's books in the coming months.

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