It's a masterpiece of construction and utterly, realistically convincing - though it has a fairytale element too. Rumer Godden's books are admired for many qualities...but I think her greatest strength is her accurate, unsentimental portrayal of children. Lovejoy, Tip and Sparkey were so real to me that they have stayed alive in my head for more than 50 years...An Episode of Sparrows was the first book that made me cry when I was ten. I cried all over again at this recent reading of the story - and I closed the book with the same sense of total satisfaction
May well prove the book of the year for those who are not ashamed to weep over the printed page...author Godden here tries her deft writing hand at landscaping a child's heart
All [Godden's novels] have one important thing in common: They are beautifully and simply wrought by a woman of depth and sensitivity
A Bizarre but Exquisite Novel . . . Rumer Godden Has Subtlety and Freshness, Humo[u]r and Charm
A small masterpiece, a near perfect account of how childhood has to come to an end and the serpent must enter the garden . . . In The River she celebrates a passion for the people, colours, sounds and even the smells of India . . . She evokes, in simple, flawless prose, a young girl's first encounters with jealousy, sex, guilt and death.
It has a dizzying cast of characters, radiating out from the inhabitants of a once-genteel London residential square to the residents of the teeming commercial streets beyond.
[A]n extraordinarily gifted writer who manages to infuse her novels with a special magic of their own
It is a sentimental tale, well told, with an unlikely and entirely satisfactory ending
A gentle, poignant story, poetically conceived with a fairy godmother ending. Recommended for all
A very remarkable novel indeed. One in a thousand
It would be impossible for a reader not to feel better from reading the story...her rich understanding of human nature, her humo[u]r and her beautiful prose inevitably leave one aglow
[Godden's] distinctive, poised and unsentimental books have never lost a shred of their almost hypnotic appeal
[Godden has] a genius for storytelling