Excellent Women (Paperback)
Penguin Classics, 9780143104872, 256pp.
Publication Date: December 26, 2006
“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.
About the Author
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.
Praise For Excellent Women…
“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