Black Narcissus has been on my TBR for a few years, but only ended up higher on the must-read list when the latest tv adaptation was released last (?) year.
I have not watched it, yet, because I wanted to read the book first. The tv adaptation was, I think, Diana Rigg’s last project, playing Mother Dorothea.
I haven’t even seen the 1947 film, yet, … at least I don’t think I have.
If the adaptations (both tv and film) are as funny and as intense as the book, there is much to look forward to.
The story of the nuns was not exactly a thriller, but I was gripped until the very end. It was great to see that this story was so not what I expected. I thought it would be more akin to The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (the film, I mean), where the endeavours of the missionaries are if not celebrated, then at least praised.
Instead, Godden turns this entirely inside out and the story isn’t much about the “benefits” of nun doing missionary work at all.
I loved seeing how the remoteness, the environment, the landscape of towering mountains, and even the hint at the ghosts of Kanchenjunga – or rather the myth that the mountain drives people mad – played such a major part in the psychological development of the nuns.
(Btw, Michelle Paver’s book Thin Air: A Ghost Story is also a great read that makes use of Kanchenjunga’s legends.)
I really liked this.
Btw, the other book by this author that I have read is In this House of Brede, which also features nuns and was also made into a film starring Diana Rigg. I much preferred, Black Narcissus. There is just something about the setting and the atmosphere that added to the drama of the story.