Excellent Women

Excellent Women

4.9 7
by Barbara Pym
     
 

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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

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Overview

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 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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[One of] the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years. (Lord David Cecil)

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143104872
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/26/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
215,243
Product dimensions:
5.02(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Philip Larkin
So there it stands, the world above the Thames: what stays longest with the reader once the amusement, the satire, the alert ear and exact eye have all been acknowledged? Partly it is the underlying lonliness of life...the absence of self-pity, the scrupulousness of one's relations with others, the small blame of comfort...the sparkle her novels had on first acquaintace has been succeeded by the deeper brilliance of established art.
From the Publisher
[One of] the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years. (Lord David Cecil)

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)

Meet the Author

Barbara Pym (1913–1980) was an English novelist educated at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Her novels, on the surface a comedy of manners of village life, looked deeply at the relationships between men and women. When in 1977 the Times Literary Supplement (London) asked critics to name the most underrated authors of the previous seventy-five years, Barbara Pym was the only one named by two critics. After sixteen years between published novels, her Quartet in Autumn was treated as a major literary event and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

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Excellent Women 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
ReaderinColorado More than 1 year ago
This book and all of Barbara Pym's books are great small Brit town reads. If you enjoy the British programs on PBS you will enjoy her books. Even if there is no essential plot you just fall in with her characters and really care what they have to say and what they do.
Fanny_B More than 1 year ago
This is my second time reading Barbara Pym's Excellent Women. I confess, when I checked the book out, I hadn't remembered that I had read it--that is, until I opened it up and ran into my old acquaintance Mildred. I was tempted to put it down again--just because I had wanted a new book--but I found I couldn't. Pym draws you in, with her funny characters, and those scenes of awkward humanity. Once I finished, I immediately went to the library and checked out The Sweet Dove Died, which I loved even more. Pym is fast becoming one of my favorite writers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was most enjoyable. I had never heard of this author or her books. I wish I would have found her sooner. It is so hard to describe this book. It was just a fun time to read it. I will read the rest of her books. Too bad there aren't that many books she wrote before she died.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a sweet, funny book with wonderful characters that really come to life. Pym does a wonderful job of exploring the inner lives of her characters and describing the small domestic scenes which make up so much of life.
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