Against a Peacock Sky

by Monica Connell. Viking, $19.95. Ms. Connell is an anthropologist, but her memoir of life in a remote Nepalese village is happily devoid of kinship charts and professional argot. It is an unpretentious description of the Hindu family who rented her part of their house, and of how they worked, how they celebrated, and how they coped with their troubles. These Nepalese were very kind and very poor, bound by tradition but capable of inventive flexibility, ignorant of the modern world but resourceful in managing their own. Ms. Connell came to respect them deeply and causes the reader to share that respect.