My new favourite author has to be Barbara Pym. One of the great advantages of being a compulsive tsundoko-ist (if the Japanese will allow such a word) is that amongst the sheer quantity if volumes piled up on bookcases around the house you sometimes get wonderful surprises and find books that you can’t remember buying. So it was with Excellent Women. I have no idea how it got there, I have a feeling that I must have thought that Barbara Pym was a writer I should read “one day” but not just yet. For some reason I just didn’t fancy her.
Then the time just seemed right to start reading Excellent Women, so I did – and had the book glued to my hand until I finished it.
It’s an absolute joy and Amanda at Fig and Thistle is so right when she writes about Pym’s superb dialogue. She also very funny – not laugh out loud funny but smile and ‘I want to remember that’ funny, like much of Wodehouse in fact.
I discovered that tsundoko was also concealing Jane and Prudence which I gobbled up while on holiday in Sicily, events in the C of E made a nice contrast to the high baroque churches we were visiting. I left it behind for my daughter to read with firm instructions it is to make its way back to France.
Then this morning I chanced on this, the Barbara Pym reading week, it’s the hundredth anniversary of her birth this week and realised that I have yet another unread Barbara Pym so I can join in too.
And it gives me an excuse to abandon the boring detective novel set in France that I’ve been reading out of a sense that I should know about stories set in this area. I’ve got A Glass of Blessings which I’ve heard doesn’t quite match up to Excellent Women, but even if it’s only half as good who cares?
Do check out some of the other blogs that are participating in the reading week too.
Helen Devries said:
I ‘found’ Barbara Pym some years ago..and couldn’t think why I hadn’t come across her before.
Her style is deceptively tranquil…and then you realise how much she has said in a few words.
And there’s so much sly wit too. Wonderful stuff!