Excellent Women (Penguin Classics)

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9780143104872: Excellent Women (Penguin Classics)
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“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.

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Review:

An unqualifiedly great novel from the writer most likely to be compared to Jane Austen, this is a very funny, perfectly written book that can rival any other in its ability to capture the essence of its characters on the page. Mildred Lathbury, the narrator of Pym's excellent book is a never-married woman in her 30s--which in 1950s England makes her a nearly-confirmed spinster. Hers is a pretty unexciting life, centered around her small church, and part-time job. But Mildred is far more perceptive and witty than even she seems to think, and when Helena and Rockingham Napier move into the flat below her, there seems to be a chance for her life to take a new direction.

About the Author:

Barbara Pym (1913–1980) was a British novelist best known for her series of satirical novels on English middle-class society. A graduate of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, Pym published the first of her nine novels, Some Tame Gazelle, in 1950, followed by five more books. Despite this early success and continuing popularity, Pym went unpublished from 1963 to 1977. Her work was rediscovered after a famous article in the Times Literary Supplement in which two prominent names, Lord David Cecil and Philip Larkin, nominated Pym as the most underrated writer of the century. Her comeback novel, Quartet in Autumn, was nominated for the Booker Prize.

A. N. Wilson (introducer) was born in 1950 and educated at Rugby School and New College, Oxford. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has held a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism, winning prizes for much of his work and contributing to the London Even Standard, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, Spectator, Observer, and Daily Mail, among others. He lives in London.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781844085262: Excellent women

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ISBN 10:  1844085260 ISBN 13:  9781844085262
Publisher: Virago Press, 2008
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9780452267305: Excellent Women

Plume, 1988
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9781844084517: Excellent Women

Virago..., 2009
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9780525101161: Excellent Women

E. P. ..., 1978
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9780816138395: Excellent Women (G K Hall Large Print Book Series)

G K Ha..., 1985
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