Caryll Houselander’s only novel, set in a post-war London Docklands parish, combines traditional Catholic characters and themes with a boldly modernist technique
Caryll Houselander was a mystic, visionary, writer and artist, born in Bath in 1901. When she was six, her mother had her and her sister received into the Catholic Church; she was to call her autobiography A Rocking-Horse Catholic. She never married or entered religious life but was fully and passionately a laywoman.
A sharp-tongued bohemian who drank, smoked and was notorious for her odd appearance, Houselander nonetheless ordered her working life with all the rigour of a Religious, dedicating every waking moment to the needs of others, either through her copious correspondence, her spiritual writings, her care of the vulnerable or conversation with friends.