Against a Peacock Sky | Monica Connell


Against a Peacock Sky

For two years in the early 1980s, Monica Connell lived as a paying guest of Kalchu and Chola in the Nepalese village of Talphi. Gradually she was accepted as a member of the family, sharing its joys and sorrows as well as taking part in its various tasks, from mud-plastering the house to rice planting in the terraced fields.

The village, in the Jumla region of western Nepal, was ten days’ walk from the nearest road, and its only contact with the outside world was through trading expeditions: north to Tibet for salt, and south to the Indian border for cotton and metalware. Connell vividly shares her experience of this remote way of life, and describes the dramas of village life with empathy and a sense of wonder – a boar hunt in winter, the wedding of a young neighbour, and the magic of the full-moon festival, when the gods descend to dance amongst the villagers.

Publisher: Eland Books (2014)

Monica Connell Against a Peacock Sky  Monica Connell Agains a Peacock Sky

‘Reading Connell’s crystalline prose – sharp, light, sensual and correct – one wonders: “why can’t everyone write this well”. Perhaps writing of this quality is rare because it demands spending a lot of time away from the unstoppably babble of words and barely tolerable excess of objects from which most English language writing emerges. Maybe prose like this can only be written against a peacock sky.’ 

Far Eastern Economic Review
July 1, 1991

‘… acutely observed and full of moments of startling empathy.’ 

Mail on Sunday
July 1, 1991