Excellent Women

Excellent Women

eBook - 1976
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Excellent Women is probably the most famous of Barbara Pym's novels. The acclaim a few years ago for this early comic novel, which was hailed by Lord David Cecil as one of 'the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years,' helped launch the rediscovery of the author's entire work. Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman's daughter and a spinster in the England of the 1950s, one of those 'excellent women' who tend to get involved in other people's lives - such as those of her new neighbor, Rockingham, and the vicar next door. This is Barbara Pym's world at its funniest.
Publisher: Bath : Chivers, 1976 (1984 [printing])
ISBN: 9781101666258
Branch Call Number: eBook OverDrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource (393 pages)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Jun 04, 2019

What is it that made you want to keep reading this novel? For me, it was to see the scandalous snake-like characters get their comeuppance. Are they ousted or flee? Will things be made right? That’s one thing about this novel. It appears Pym takes a more realistic route than using fiction tropes. Perhaps that’s why she’s popular? You just never know what to expect. I wanted Mildred to come out on top, especially after she’s accused by pretty much everyone of being in love with every unattached man she’s spoken to. When she adamantly denies the accusations, she looks like she’s lying. Oh, Mildred. I could relate when I was in high school and college.

And that ending. I did not see it coming.

Feb 09, 2019

Just ok. I did not get far into the book. Did not hold my interest. Did not complete the book.

Aug 03, 2018

Charming if for nothing than it's Brutishness. They do love their tea time!!!

Jul 20, 2017

Wonderful British spinster novel filled with quirky characters and the quiet observations of a curate's daughter who has to share the bathroom with more exciting neighbors.

LPL_MeredithW Jan 28, 2017

A quiet, wry, slice-of-life novel of manners about competent, observant Mildred Lathbury, a single woman who gets swept up in the intrigues of her neighbors in post WWII-England, I would recommend “Excellent Women” for fans of Jane Austen or Stella Gibbons. One word of warning: if you need a strong plot, this isn't the book for you. But if you're character-focused, definitely give this a try!

Aug 18, 2016

dated? did you notice it was set in the 1950's?
I found it amusing, ironic, and truthful.

Apr 01, 2015

An eminently likeable story with likeable characters and a nice setting. It was not an inspiring read for me but it is enjoyable to hang out with these characters in 1950s England for a few hours.

WVMLStaffPicks Nov 13, 2014

Every reader should have a favourite author to return to after weathering a succession of less than satisfactory new books. Mine is Barbara Pym. Read enough issues of Staff Picks and you will likely encounter most of her ten novels. This one is the story of the capable, unmarried Mildred, just past thirty and on her way to becoming an “excellent woman” in her London parish. An appreciative observer, she excels at getting involved in others’ lives instead of her own-until the charming, carefree Rocky moves into the apartment downstairs. Once again Pym’s comic flair and eye for the absurdities of human behaviour bring to centre stage those individuals usually regarded as too insignificant for fiction.

Oct 08, 2014

I wanted to like this book but it felt very dated and the characters did not interest me.

May 28, 2014

I love all of Barbara Pym's novels. Her novels are witty, funny, perceptive and kind-spirited. (This kind spirit this generosity towards ALL her characters, is where she differs from Jane Austen, who tends to be much too fond of her main characters and too unpleasantly judgemental of all others.) Barbara Pym is a hidden treasure. You don't have to be a fan of romances to enjoy them. They "work" just as well as deliciously observant social portraits of a particular time and place

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