After a lunch of succulent pork and chilled beer, Andrea settles down with her uncle and aunt to retell family stories of Akkai, a Roman Catholic nun (and Andrea’s great-aunt), who died under mysterious circumstances. This gets Andrea thinking about the lives of the other nuns in the family – like bold and brassy, salsa-dancing great-aunt Deidre, who left the convent to be the Principal of a college; others soft and steely like Akkai and the don-like Stella Marie, a nursing superintendent. Andrea realizes these women have played a large part in the architecture of her childhood in the Mangalorean Catholic community of Bangalore.
As she talks to family members about the nun-aunts, Andrea unearths some peculiar and quirky aspects. Through whispered stories in the family, she comes to appreciate the porous convent walls the nun-aunts and the family navigate. But she also encounters unexpected reticence from some of the family, whose memories of the nun-aunts are somewhat differently textured.
This richly human memoir tells the story of how a young girl finds her way through a flood-tide of recollections and emotion to navigate the tricky shoals of family ties, in an effort to bring closure to the family past.
Of Rumours Lived & Told is a memoir dedicated to the lives of nuns in the Roman Catholic Church, written by Ann Correa. The author is a PhD scholar at the Department of Philosophy & Humanities, Manipal University, where she studies postwar British women’s literature. She was long-listed for the Toto Funds Arts Creative Writing Award (2015) for her short stories.
The book is about Andrea, a literature student & her quest to observe & write about the lives of nuns in her family. There are many women who played parts in Andrea’s life to build up her character so she decides to write about them in a book. Though when she decided to do that she had to face strong opposition from her mother to do so, while she didn’t understood the reason at first but then a secret information slips out the mouth of her father & she gets to know why. This made her see the other side of the church which isn’t just about prayers & mass and also made her even more dedicated towards her cause. Her great aunts Akkai, a Roman Catholic nun & Deidre an ex-nun are two main nuns who she admired & has written the story around. Read the book to know more!
As an atheist I didn’t knew what to expect from this book as I was pretty confused even before I started reading it, will it be about Jesus, how nuns pray & other such questions clouded my mind but as I started to read it I realised it wasn’t anything about that. The language used is extremely easy to relate with, also the writing style reminds me of Ruskin Bond in some way though the book needs thorough editing as there are multiple mistakes. The cover is one of the best covers of my 2016 read & the title seems fit along the story. We should expect some beautiful works in future from the author. An interesting read indeed.