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A Few Green Leaves Paperback – January 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Moyer Bell and its subsidiaries; 1st ed edition (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559212284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559212281
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"All the people in A Few Green Leaves are completely realistic; the sort of people we meet every day of our lives and never particularly notice...Miss Pym's art endows them with a significance which they could never possess in life." -- Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Barbara Pym, who died on January 11, 1980, spent the last few years of her life in an Oxfordshire village, sharing a small cottage with her sister. In 1977, after sixteen years in the wilderness she published QUARTET IN AUTUMN. It was treated as a major literary event, as was her next novel, THE SWEET DOVE DIED.

More About the Author

Barbara Pym (1913-1980) was a bestselling and award-winning English novelist. Her first book, Some Tame Gazelle (1950), launched her career as a writer beloved for her social comedies of class and manners.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Trixie on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is another review comparing Barbara Pym's books so that readers can choose between them.
A FEW GREEN LEAVES is my favorite. After writing about London settings, Pym returns to the small country village of her beginnings. But, this village lacks the comfortable traditionalism of her earlier SOME TAME GAZELLE. Much of the book dwells on the changes that have come about in the English countryside by 1980.
A FEW GREEN LEAVES is not depressing, however. It is instead humorously realistic about the incongruities between what people have been raised to expect and what actually is. In this sense, it is the most profound of her books because it demonstrates how we can still get the most out of life when only "a few green leaves" remain. This book was written at the end of Pym's life and it contains wisdom and hopefulness as well as, of course, great humor.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Housley on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
"A Few Green Leaves" is one of Barbara Pym's best novels. It is full of characters familiar to readers of Pym's other novels; rectors, widows, spinsters, eccentrics, anthropologists and a cat lady. There is romance, but in true Pym fashion it is not always suitable. It is subtly funny and poignantly sad, often at the same time. The heroine, Emma Howick, is a prototypical Pym spinster, intellectual, unsure and perhaps uninterested in the classic ways to attract a man. She is an anthropologist recently moved to a small village to live in her mother's cottage. I discovered Barbara Pym's work while in college and nothing she has written has ever disappointed me.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Sollami on January 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This novel is so very British, reserved, yet profound. It beautifully celebrates the cerebral machinations of a small Oxfordshire village and portrays the intertwined lives of its aging as well as its younger residents. Symptomatic of changing times, the village has two doctors, a Dr. G who is older and traditional and comforting, unwilling to dispense medicine but more than able to send his patients away with a platitude or bromide; and a younger doctor, geriatrics specialist, far more modern, believing in the cure-all of exercise and perhaps a prescription. Besides the medical comforters is the traditional religious comforter, Reverend Tom, a widower living with his thwarted sister Daphe, who dreams of owning a dog and living on a sun-drenched island in Greece. Reverend Tom is a lovely, harmless man, unable to be bold or aggressive, dreaming of a lost medieval village somewhere in the woods around the town, and preoccupied with history while the present slips away from him. Then there is Emma, an anthropologist, rather plain by her own telling, who has come to the town to recover from a shabby "affair" with a fellow academic, as well as to study small-town village life. After doing something impetuous, she finds herself facing the same rather boring man with which she was slightly entangled and is befuddled again as to what their "relationship," if it can be called that, really means, if anything. "A Few Green Leaves" is really about what is meaningful and beautiful in our lives. So very little can mean so much to us. A true artist, Barbara Pym creates for us these village lives, with their frustrations, their humor, their longings, and their mortality. This was her last artistic effort before her own death two months after its completion. It is a fine work, and I felt the whole way that I was in the secure hands of a master story teller: wise, funny, perceptive, and profoundly literate. Bravo!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Goodman-Smith on October 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read several Barbara Pym novels almost 30 years ago. I put them in the book case and saved them. I moved them with me 7 or 8 times. I had forgotten why I was keeping them but I kept them.
Then I re-read them. I was floored. The writing is right, I am not sure how else to explain it. The characters live their lives in smaller English towns and villages, they do this or that yet it is all there. Barbara Pym captures her people in their lives and their thoughts and writes with wit, respect and affection for them. It seems quite a few of her books have recently been re-issued. I bought them all and am reading them, one at a time, with great pleasure.
Far be it for me to compare any writer to Jane Austen but there it is.
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