Rosaries, Reading, Secrets: A Catholic Childhood in India is a lyrical account of Anita Mathias's turbulent Roman Catholic childhood in India.Mathias grew up in Jamshedpur, North India, "The Steel City," a company town benevolently run by the Zoroastrians of Tata Steel. The Catholic church, run by American Jesuits, provided an all-encompassing world. In a pre-TV world, visiting friends was entertainment, juicy gossip flowed with homemade wine, and children sang, danced, and recited for guests.
Reading was a way of escaping volatile fights with her mother-fairy tales, Greek myths, Norse myths, Indian epics in children's editions and British children's classics. Libraries were a refuge.
Mathias, irrepressible and rebellious, known as "the naughtiest girl in the school," was expelled from school, aged nine, for disrupting classes with mischief and attempts at running away, and went to a boarding school, St. Mary's Convent, Nainital, run by German nuns in the Himalayas. The virtual end of childhood-and a new adventure.
A beautifully written account of a childhood. The textures, colours and, above all, the tastes of a particular world are lyrically but also precisely evoked. But, although Mathias rightly celebrates the richness of that world, she weaves through this magical remembrance of things past a skein of sadness that makes it haunting. It's lovely! Francesca Kay, An Equal Stillness
A dazzling, vibrant tale of "the naughtiest girl in school," whose sweet tooth is exceeded only by her insatiable appetite for language and stories. Mathias conjures India and her extended family in uproarious and heart-breaking detail. Erin Hart, Haunted Ground
Mathias invites us into a totally absorbing world of past and present marvels, generously laced with poetic and literary references and Dickensian levels of observation and detail. A beautifully written, important, and addictive book. Jenny Lewis, Gilgamesh Retold
In Mathias's beautiful childhood memoir, one of her childhood tortures is family rosary-saying, and whenever there is trouble with her parents, she plunges into her hugely wide-ranging reading. Tormented, passionate and often sad, this book is immensely readable. Trevor Mostyn, Coming of Age in The Middle East
A remarkable account of a Catholic childhood in India. A treasure chest of sights, sounds and scents, it is full of food (always food), books (always books), and a family with all its alliances and divisions. A feat of memory and remembrance. Philip Gooden, The Story of English
Joining intelligent winsomeness with an engaging style, Anita Mathias writes with keen observation, lively insight and hard-earned wisdom about navigating the life of thoughtful faith in a world of cultural complexities. Her words sing of a spirit strong in courage, compassion and a pervasive dedication to the adventure of life. A beautifully told and powerful story. Carolyn Weber, Surprised by Oxford
With glorious detail, precision and humour. Mathias reveals her evolution from naughty girl to writer-the independent spirit and artist of language so deliciously demonstrated here. Professor Jane Spiro, Testimony of Flight
Mathias's pluck and charm shine through every page of this beautifully crafted, comprehensive, and erudite memoir. Ray Foulk, Picasso's Revenge
Mathias's prose is lively and evocative. An enjoyable and accessible book. Sylvia Vetta, Sculpting the Elephant
A fascinating memoir. Mathias is an accomplished writer. Merryn Williams, Six Women Novelists
Author: Anita Mathias Language: EnglishBinding: PaperbackPages: 368Publisher: Benediction ClassicsPublication Date: 2022-08-30