Coromandel Sea Change

Rumer Godden, Author William Morrow & Company $18 (263p) ISBN 978-0-688-10397-2
Although the plot of the celebrated English novelist ( Black Narcissus ) and memoirist's ( A House with Four Rooms ) latest effort is sadly stale, it is worth reading for its profusion of atmospheric delights. Godden invokes her beloved India in all its colors, creating a hotel by the Coromandel Sea and peopling it with staff and guests, mostly British and American, who enact some nefarious dramas. The benevolent Auntie Sanni, proprietor, watches knowingly as a diplomatic couple on their honeymoon comes to grief, rent by disparate visions of India: what stuffy Blaise sees as sordid, the incandescent Mary finds moving and even transfigurative. To Blaise's chagrin, Mary gets swept up in the local elections, dazzled by a politician whose spirituality changes her forever. Meanwhile, the aloof Olga Manning attends to mysterious proceedings in Calcutta, and a pseudonymous journalist dispatches his spies throughout the area. Adultery, blackmail and mortal tragedy further foment the story line. If the characters conform to stereotypes, they nonetheless quicken through Godden's lightning-fast portraiture and the consummate charm of her setting. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-688-12572-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56054-915-4
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-4472-0625-5
Hardcover - 381 pages - 978-1-56054-346-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-330-48784-9
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4472-1099-3
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