The Sun in the Morning by M.M. Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are three factors that make this a really impressive memoir.
𓇼Kaye has an impressive (she says photographic) memory. If she can’t remember something (or remembers imprecisely) she says so.
𓇼 A fascinating early life.
𓇼 She waited until she was very old before writing. This enabled Kaye to say what she really thought. & Kaye certainly takes full advantage of this freedom!
In this book’s forward, one of Kaye’s daughters was travelling in the far east but said she was about ten years too late.
“To which I replied sadly that she had not been ten years too late, but thirty at the very least.
I, however, had not been too late. It has been my great good fortune to see India when that once fabulously beautiful land was as lovely, and to a great extent as peaceful and unspoiled, as Eden before the Fall. To live for two years in Peking in an old Chinese house, once the property of a Manch Prince, at a time when the citizens of that country still wore their national costumes instead of dressing up – or down! – in dull Russian-style “uniforms. To have visited Japan before war, the Bomb and the American occupation altered it beyond recognition, when the sight of a Japanese woman in European dress was unusual enough to make you turn and stare…”
Kaye was born in India, the second of three children. Her adored father (who she nicknamed Tacklow)served in the Indian army, a linguist and code cracker. Her childhood was happy but certainly not a total fairy tale. Her elder brother was sent “home” to England to be educated, Kaye had one sadistic governess who tortured her with doses of castor oil. But Mollie & her younger sister Bets overall loved it all & were heartbroken when they in turn were sent home to England to be educated. Mollie seems to have benefitted very little from the mediocre education she received and it was indeed fortunate that she had enough artistic ability to dream of a career as an illustrator.
I had a lot of trouble putting this memoir aside for anything! Who Kaye loved she really loved – Bets, childhood friend Bargie- but she is unsparing to those she disliked, for example her paternal grandparents. I have never read so honest a memoir and will definitely be looking for Past 2 –Golden Afternoon
Although Kaye herself hated this particular costume (even though she normally liked fancy dress) she looks so darn adorable. So, here she is!