Authors & Events
Gifts & Deals
Dec 26, 2006
| ISBN 9780143104872
Dec 26, 2006
| ISBN 9781101666258
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Dec 26, 2006 | ISBN 9780143104872
Dec 26, 2006 | ISBN 9781101666258
“The finest introduction to Barbara Pym” (The New York Times): a hilarious comedy of manners by the shrewdly observant British novelist often compared to Jane Austen One of Barbara Pym’s richest and most amusing high comedies, Excellent Women has at its center Mildred Lathbury, a clergyman’s daughter and a mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. She is one of those “excellent women,” the smart, supportive, repressed women who men take for granted. As Mildred gets embroiled in the lives of her new neighbors—anthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next door—the novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires.
Excellent Women is probably the most famous of Barbara Pym’s novels. The acclaim a few years ago for this early comic novel, which was hailed by Lord David Cecil as one of ‘the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years,’ helped launch the rediscovery of the author’s entire work. Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman’s daughter and a spinster in the England of the 1950s, one of those ‘excellent women’ who tend to get involved in other people’s lives – such as those of her new neighbor, Rockingham, and the vicar next door. This is Barbara Pym’s world at its funniest.
A writer from the age of sixteen, Barbara Pym has been acclaimed as “the most underrated writer of the century” (Philip Larkin). Pym’s substantial reputation evolved through the publication of six novels from 1950 to 1961, then resumed in 1977… More about Barbara Pym
“Beneath the gentle surfaces of [Pym’s] novels is a slow-building comedy, salt wit in a saline drip. . . . Her work offers the reassurance that we are all as bad and as good, as prickly and as resilient, as any Evensong attendee. It is a useful gratification in grating times.” —The New York Times“A startling reminder that solitude may be chosen and that a lively, full novel can be constructed entirely within the precincts of that regressive virtue, feminine patience.” —John Updike, The New Yorker“Reading Barbara Pym is . . . a wonderful experience, full of unduplicable perceptions, sensations, and soul-stirrings.” —Newsweek“[One of] the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years.” —Lord David Cecil
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