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Excellent Women (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 26, 2006
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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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“Beneath the gentle surfaces of [Pym's] novels is a slow-building comedy, salt wit in a saline drip. . . . Her work offers the reassurance that we are all as bad and as good, as prickly and as resilient, as any Evensong attendee. It is a useful gratification in grating times.” —The New York Times
“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
“[One of] the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years.” —Lord David Cecil
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a good ending