[PDF] ✓ Unlimited ✓ Excellent Women : by Barbara Pym ✓


  • Title: Excellent Women
  • Author: Barbara Pym
  • ISBN: 9780143104872
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Paperback

  • Excellent Women is one of Barbara Pym s richest and most amusing high comedies Mildred Lathbury is 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 hanExcellent Women is one of Barbara Pym s richest and most amusing high comedies Mildred Lathbury is 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.
    Barbara Pym
    After studying English at St Hilda s College, Oxford, she served in the Women s Royal Naval Service during World War II The turning point for Pym came with a famous article in the Times Literary Supplement in which two prominent names, Lord David Cecil and Philip Larkin, nominated her as the most underrated writer of the century Pym and Larkin had kept up a private correspondence over a period of many years Her comeback novel, Quartet in Autumn, was nominated for the Booker Prize Another novel, The Sweet Dove Died, previously rejected by many publishers, was subsequently published to critical acclaim, and several of her previously unpublished novels were published after her death.Pym worked at the International African Institute in London for some years, and played a large part in the editing of its scholarly journal, Africa, hence the frequency with which anthropologists crop up in her novels She never married, despite several close relationships with men, notably Henry Harvey, a fellow Oxford student, and the future politician, Julian Amery After her retirement, she moved into Barn Cottage at Finstock in Oxfordshire with her younger sister, Hilary, who continued to live there until her death in February 2005 A blue plaque was placed on the cottage in 2006 The sisters played an active role in the social life of the village.Several strong themes link the works in the Pym canon , which are notable for their style and characterisation than for their plots A superficial reading gives the impression that they are sketches of village or suburban life, with excessive significance being attached to social activities connected with the Anglican church in particular its Anglo Catholic incarnation However, the dialogue is often deeply ironic, and a tragic undercurrent runs through some of the later novels, especially Quartet in Autumn and The Sweet Dove Died.


    Commentaires:

    Fabian
    With a sweetness reminiscent of Edith Wharton's gorgeous "The Age of Innocence," "Excellent Women" is proof, not solely of female excellence, but of the overall human goodness. Nothing short of miraculous, this novel about a wallflower who knows just how shitty men can often treat their counterparts, and how with much ease the ill treatment is endured, is both a classic and a must! I have never read a more compassionate or sympathetic voice, like that of our heroine's. Also, the quantity of tea [...]

    MsAprilVincent
    Aside from a few differences--living in the 1950s, being British, not being a teacher, being actively involved in church--Mildred Lathbury could easily be me. She's in her early 30s, she's unmarried, people keep telling her about their problems and expecting her to fix them, men think she's in love with them just because she's single, and she prefers living by herself because someone else would just mess everything up.And here's another thing that I noticed: her friends and neighbors would often [...]

    Kelly
    This review first appeared on my blog Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.Awhile ago, I asked for recommendations for books that take place in small villages. I'd just done a re-read of Emma and followed that up with An Accomplished Woman, and I was really enjoying the scale of the worlds and the consequent depth of observation that this allowed for- which is why I asked for more. One that came up a couple of times but hadn't made it to the top yet was Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. I wish that I had l [...]

    Kim Kaso
    I am re-reading Barbara Pym's books this summer to lift my spirits as I recover from physical injury. I find I can only take so much emotional stress before I retreat to her closely observed lives full of the quotidian routines of the women who are the backbone of the Anglican Church. Flower arranging, knitting, polishing church brasses, it is all part of the detail of their quiet lives as loss of love is accepted with resignation, spinsters find a way of "making do" on limited budgets, and the [...]

    Jane
    I had such high hopes that I would love this book, and I did, so very much.So many people had said that it was so good, that it was Barbara Pym’s best book, and when I realised that it was the story of a spinster, in her thirties in the fifties, my mind went spinning back.Not to the fifties – I’m not that old – but to when my mother took me to church as a very small child. We always sat behind a row of elderly ladies, and I spent a long time looking at their backs and hats during dull se [...]

    Rebecca
    I am honestly not sure what to make of this book. I initially discovered this book (and author) through a random -crawl, where I assume it was recommended to me based on some of my other highly-rated books. I vaguely remember reading that Excellent Women was satirical, funny, biting, etc and there were several comparisons to Jane Austen. I don't share the crush that virtually all well-educated white girls seem to have for Jane Austen (despite being a well-educated white girl myself), but I did e [...]

    Malia
    Just what I was looking for! This is charming, witty and introduced me to the wonderfully observant Mildred Lathbury. My first book by Pym, but not my last!Find more reviews and bookish fun at princessandpen

    ·Karen·
    I fear I may have been a little severe in my assessment of Ms Pym so, as I'm sure her legions of fans will be delighted to hear, I sat myself out on the terrace yesterday afternoon and read this one straight through, cover to cover, in 5 hours.Quartet in Autumn was driech: dull sad people leading sad dull lives. This one was at least subtly humorous, but, weirdly enough, hardly less depressing for a' that.The humourIn post-WW2 Britain you still have to register with the butcher, and (pre-Elizabe [...]

    Eve
    Although this wasn't a dashing romantic tale like Jane Eyre or even Pride and Prejudice I thought it was great. It was slow in some areas, but I still found it rich and thrilling.Everyday life and excursions are related with humor and depth. Church gossip and those "delicate" marital concerns that can arise when laundry is aired publicly, were so hilarious to watch as an outsider along with the protagonist. I found it a bit feminist as well the sense that not all women need to be married to just [...]

    Helle
    Stick on the kettle, put up your feet and settle into your favourite armchair with this cosy, post-WW II English novel. Barbara Pym’s world is one of brown-clad spinsters, nuns on bicycles and vicars who live with their sisters. The foreword in my beautiful Virago Modern Classics edition was written by Alexander McCall Smith, and I now see where he got much of his inspiration for his 44 Scotland Street series.The book is the literary equivalent of an English (pre-war) village with its small co [...]

    Chrissie
    I did not like this book. I found it a total bore from start to finish. I didn't laugh once. It is supposed to have satirical humor. I found no humor at all. The book is about a single woman, Mildred Lathbury. She is in her thirties. She is living in London near Victoria Station in the years following the Second World War. History is scarcely referred to other than mention of food rationing, a lack of commodities and a bombed building or two. Her days consist of eating - meals and tea - over and [...]

    Magrat Ajostiernos
    Mildred me ha conquistado! :D

    Kathryn
    A most excellent book! Full of lots of humor and thoughtfulness--I agree that it's a bit Jane Austen-esque. However, I am not sure that the overall theme is quite so optimistic as Austen's works. I would be very interested to hear from others who have read this book to find out what they think. Did Mildred find a fulfilling life? What was Pym's view of "excellent women"--were they neglected victims or silent heroes? I'm looking forward to reading more of Pym's work. Highly recommended!!!

    Paula
    Warm, witty and wonderful. Pym gives us glimpses of human nature with all its flaws, but with such sympathy that we cannot help but love her characters. The best novels help us to develop our empathy, or what Eliot called "fellow-feeling," toward mankind. Such books teach us to be as forgiving of the flaws of the characters as we are of our own flaws, and so learn empathy toward real people. This is one of those rare books. It presents glimpses of humanity so close to us that we will smile in re [...]

    Claire Fuller
    Why didn't any of you shout louder about reading Barbara Pym? I can't believe I'm nearly 50 and I've only just got round to reading her, because everything was perfect and lovely and wonderful about this book. So beautifully English. An 'ordinary' single woman, Mildred, in the 1950s, goes to church, goes on holiday with her old school friend, drinks an awful lot of tea, helps out in a charity for gentlewomen who have fallen on hard times, has another cup of tea with some slightly stale cake, den [...]

    Cris Díaz
    4,5 para una novela que me ha encantadoMi primera experiencia con la autora no ha podido ser mejor. Un retrato de personajes y ambientes tan cuidado, ameno y lleno de sutil humor que me ha hecho de su lectura algo maravilloso. Me costaba dejar el libro y era un gustazo ponerme de nuevo con el.Personajes a los que coges cariño (Mildred te conquista), son humanos, con sus cosas buenas y malas.Desde luego estoy deseando leer Amor no correspondido.Muy a tener en cuenta la edición de Gatopardo

    Katie Lumsden
    I really enjoyed this. It's like Jane Austen but set in the 1950s - very witty, but at times tinged with sadness.

    ✨Susan✨
    This was a strange read, it's a lot to do about nothing. It was just a step into the everyday lives of a group of people that are connected by geography. I almost quit reading it several times but curiosity about the characters pulled me back in. A clean cozy with good narration.

    Elena
    3,5Me ha gustado pero quizá el hecho de haber tenido tan poco tiempo para leer esta semana ha hecho que no haya disfrutado tanto de la lectura, todo y con eso tengo que destacar que Barbara escribe de maravilla y da gusto leerla.

    Mariola
    Me ha sorprendido mucho este libro, ¿cómo una historia tan cotidiana engancha tanto?. Me he reído con los pensamientos de la protagonista, resulta tan humana!, tiene una gran capacidad crítica, pero está muy atrapada por todos los convencionalismos de la época.

    Kathleen
    Ooh --I like Barbara Pym! Her writing style is deceptively simple, and thoroughly enjoyable.Mildred is an unattached woman of a certain age, and in the society of this time and place, the role of such excellent women seems to be to make themselves available for everyone else. In the course of her hum-drum life being upset by the appearance of some volatile newcomers to the neighborhood, Mildred begins to question society's expectations.“Perhaps there can be too much making of cups of tea, I th [...]

    Jennifer
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book - my first Barbara Pym. Mildred Lathbury is an "excellent woman" - 30's, single, capable, involved in the church, living alone in post war London. As such, she is taken for granted on every page. Do you need someone to work a jumble sale? Are you having a fight with your husband and need someone to write a note to him? Did you move out of the house and you need someone to meet and manage the moving company? Do you have a chicken at home and need someone to cook it? [...]

    Carol
    This is my first Barbara Pym book, but it definitely won't be my last! Her gentle humor suffuses the book, and the characters spring to life in just a phrase or two. What seems at first a light, subtle, tongue-in-cheek storyline is actually incredibly insightful and the story stays with you long after you finish reading. The characters could very well be my next door neighbors – each and every one. Amusing, charming, entertaining, endearing, interesting, soft-spoken, no gimmicks – all of whi [...]

    Jennifer (aka EM)
    What a curious little novel. Gently funny, a little bit sad. I will read more Pym.This is a good article from The New Yorker: Barbara Pym and the New Spinster

    Tony
    EXCELLENT WOMEN. (1952). Barbara Pym. *****. While browsing the Penguin Classics list of new publications, I saw several entrys by an author I hadn’t read or even heard of. I’m always willing to take a chance with one of Penguin’s publications in their Classics series. This was one on the list, and I was blown over by my “discovery.” Ms. Pym (1913-1980) was best known for her series of novels about the British middle class. She published her first novel in 1950, followed by five more n [...]

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    I have read over half of this book, and find no "biting satire." There's no "high comedy" here, even in contrast to "low" (ie vulgar) comedy. Also no tension, no direction, no plot. The only thing approaching irony is that the main character works for a charity that helps "decayed gentlewomen" without realising for a moment that she is one herself. At first I thought this would be part of the plot (I actually thought there would be one) and we would get an insider's look at these women's problem [...]

    Lynda
    A typically chatty tale from Barbara Pym. Lives of quiet desperation is always a phrase that swims around in my mind when I read her novels. Those bedsit spinsters eating tins of baked beans or lettuce and a bit of tomato with bread and butter for tea. But perhaps Mildred Lathbury is something more than that for though she does live her life vicariously in the service of others Pym allow her to have rather a good time in the process, she is literally wined and dined by all the male protagonists [...]

    Jonfaith
    This series of set pieces oozes austerity. Anglicans endure the post-war shortages with a sober humor and allow their imaginations to whimsy while mantaining hopes for the future. The protagonist shuffles between a small circle of characters, sips a great deal of tea, ponders the limits of her education, her wit, and her looks. There are disputes and relationships dissolve, but this isn't an Iris Murdoch parlor exercise. Feelings may blush and pale. There are no scars here. That was the war, dar [...]

    Sarah
    This book is the most British thing to ever happen! I can just see Mildred's good manners and wry narration in a BBC seriesI don't usually go in for comedy-of-manners, but this was just so well done. Our little, daily sorrows and triumphs can be far more moving than any epic romance. Pym's observations are as poignant as they are funny.Mildred Lathbury probably wouldn't approve of me, but that's alright! I adore her.

    Pink
    Fun! A mid 20th century English novel, typical of the best female authors of the time. I don't read enough of these.

    • [PDF] ✓ Unlimited ✓ Excellent Women : by Barbara Pym ✓
      158 Barbara Pym
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      Posted by:Barbara Pym
      Published :2018-08-21T16:26:05+00:00