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Some Tame Gazelle Paperback – March 14, 1999
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In Twenty Years: A Novel
When five college roommates gather after twenty years, can the rifts between them be repaired? Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
Miss Pym appears as Belinda Bede and her sister as Harriet. In the story, they are two spinsters living together in a small village. Interestingly, later in life Barbara Pym and her sister did live together. The character of their clergyman, a married Archdeacon, is based on a man sharing the same first name (Henry) whom Barbara Pym was devoted to in college. He subsequently broke her heart by marrying another woman. The fictional Henry, too, is married, but has been so for 25 years. Belinda/Barbara is still devoted to him, but with warm affection instead of burning passion.
It's hard to explain the appeal of this book. It has humor; Barbara Pym saw the funny side of ordinary happenings and people. And it has pathos, which is a crucial ingredient of the best humor. There is even a touch of feminism, although gentle. For example, when Henry remarks to Belinda that women "enjoy" being martyrs, she repies that they may martyr themselve, but they leave the enjoyment of it to the men.
Like Jane Austen, Barbara Pym limits herself to "a few families in a village," and like Jane Austen she succeeds in providing insight, irony, and, withal, enjoyment and optimism.
SOME TAME GAZELLE is, I think the most light-hearted and optimistic of Pym's books. The world it presents is very established and secure and the character of Harriet is one of her bubbliest and most life-affirming. The ridiculous foibles of all the characters are looked on with a very forgiving eye.
The down side of this book is its moral seems to be the more things stay the same, the better. Naturally, this doesn't make for a very exciting plot (none of her books are very plot-heavy, but this least of all) and there is a flatness to the ending. The humor is also less profound.
The relationship between the sisters is the strongest element in this book. The weakest is that it doesn't end up very far from where it started out. But that certainly is a delightful and amusing place.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not my usual type of fiction, but I enjoyed reading it. The trials and tribulations of a church centered community, with the theme of repression as the thread that binds.Published 27 days ago by Girlygirl
A tender study of two unmarried sisters, their suitors over the decades, and what each would have added to or taken from their lives.Published 4 months ago by Robbye K.
I really enjoy this book. I've read it several times and I don't tire of it.Published 5 months ago by Dave
Honestly, I found it dull, the characters unlikable, and the plot very flat.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
You will not lose sleep reading this one, unless the noise from Miss Austen spinning in her grave keeps you awake.Published 18 months ago by Nancy J.
Very well written. A tight plot. Why has not this writer been at the top? Most characters well developed. Setting is descriptive.Published 20 months ago by J Fertitta
Barbara Pym is very very British, very understated, delicate, funny (wry), very observant. Wonderfully written. Read morePublished 20 months ago by A. Anderson