The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden

The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden

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New York : Viking press, 1972. Hardcover. 147 pages ; 21 cm. $5.95 dust jacket unclipped. Very good copy in original dust jacket with unmarked pages and square binding.


"Diddakoi," "Tinker," "Tinkety-Tink" —the derisive cries of her schoolmates only confirmed Kizzy Lovell's hatred of gorgios, or non-gypsies. At seven years (as near as anyone could guess her age), she wanted no part of school but only the companionship of her Great-Great-Gran and their ancient horse, Joe.

When Gran died and the caravan in which she lived near the village of Amber-hurst on the Downs was traditionally burned by her Romany relatives, Kizzy would have been wholly alone except for gruff, misogynistic Admiral Cunningham Twiss and Miss Olivia Brooke, one of the local magistrates. Learning how to accept their kindness proves as great a trial as the persistent cruelties of her schoolgirl peers —and the learning is not all on Kizzy's side.

The Diddakoi is a deliciously satisfying story of the human spirit embattled. Writing of a child apart, who is wholly her own person, Rumer Godden has brought all her skill and sorcery to a tale as touching for parents as for the children to whom they are certain to read it.


RUMER GODDEN has been consistently entertaining both adult and juvenile readers in this country as a storyteller, poet, anthologist, playwright, and lecturer since 1939, the year she made her American debut as a novelist with Block Narcissus. Born in Sussex, England, she spent most of her childhood in India, an account of which she gave with her sister Jon (also a novelist) in Two Under the Indian Sun. Joined by photographer Stella Snead, they have again combined their talents for a new book about life in India today, Shiva's Pigeons, just published.

Miss Godden's other recent books include her bestselling novel, Jn Jbis House of Brede, The Raphael Bible, the paintings from the Loggia ceiling of the Vatican Museum, which she put together with texts and a concise history; and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle, for children. She has also translated from the French, Carmen Bernos de Gasztold's two volumes of devotional poems, Prayers from the Ark and The Creatures' Choir.

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