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Excellent Women (1952)

af Barbara Pym

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
2,7171245,234 (3.99)1 / 642
"Excellent Women" is one of Barbara Pyms richest and most amusing high comedies. Mildred Lathbury is a clergymans 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 neighborsanthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next doorthe novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires.… (mere)
  1. 61
    Hotel du Lac af Anita Brookner (Miels)
    Miels: Similar themes and a the same lovely but understated quality to the writing. Both stories are told with wry humor. Both stories have an underlying sadness. (Though Brookner's book tends more to the melancholy side.)
  2. 72
    Stolthed og fordom af Jane Austen (carlym)
  3. 40
    Commonplace af Christina Rossetti (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Considers the plight of spinsters
  4. 30
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day af Winifred Watson (Eat_Read_Knit)
  5. 00
    Lolly Willowes, or The Loving Huntsman af Sylvia Townsend Warner (carlym)
  6. 00
    Lady on the Burning Deck af Catherine Heath (KayCliff)
  7. 00
    Old Mrs. Camelot af Emery Bonett (MissWoodhouse1816)
  8. 00
    The Odd Women af George Gissing (potenza)
    potenza: Vastly different period and style, yet a similar thematic demographic
  9. 00
    Indelicacy af Amina Cain (potenza)
    potenza: As the the story progressed, I started to hear Barbara Pym. Something of similar sensibility on self and relationships and humor.
  10. 00
    Bird Cottage af Eva Meijer (potenza)
    potenza: Similarly independent protagonist, period, and setting. (Any Barbara Pym is a companion to Bird Cottage.)
  11. 01
    An Episode of Sparrows af Rumer Godden (BeckyJP)
Indlæser...

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Gruppe EmneKommentarerSeneste Meddelelse 
 Virago Modern Classics: Barbara Pym Centenary: Excellent Women41 ulæste / 41Robertgreaves, marts 2013

» Se også 642 omtaler

Engelsk (121)  Fransk (1)  Svensk (1)  Tagalog (1)  Alle sprog (124)
Viser 1-5 af 124 (næste | vis alle)
Simply a wonderful read. ( )
  vscauzzo | Jan 29, 2024 |
excellent! jumble sales, endless cups of tea, that cursed incense (whether the good type or no), the meaning behind a quick glance- oh my. such minuscule things, stirred and expanded to take over all of our narrator’s tiny universe. The minutia of a quiet spinster’s life, the strictures of lower middle class post WW2 church-centric society, observed by a witty, dark intelligence with an extraordinary subtlety and an occasional giggle.

‘Well, you’re a sensible person. it’s just the kind of thing you would have.’
Oh, dear, one was to be for ever cast down, I thought, brooding over the piece of fish on my plate….

haha! If you like the Penelopes, Muriel Spark or Nancy Mitford you will thoroughly enjoy this gem. ( )
  diveteamzissou | Jan 1, 2024 |
Needed a break after reading a string of YA dystopians for work. This book is certainly the polar opposite of a YA dystopian, and it's a classic of humorous 20th-century British fiction for a reason.

Excellent Women is a comedy of manners—except that the setting is bleak post-War London, and it's a black comedy. This book is kind of like the anti-chick lit novel, with the quaint job (instead of a cupcake shop, a Society for the Care of Aged Gentlewomen) and the cast of baffling, unreliable men.

It's not laugh-out loud funny, but is nevertheless hilarious; Mildred's voice gives everything a tragic (but restrained) humor. And while many of the supporting characters have the two-dimensional quality you see in satire, Mildred is a complex, fully realized character and the reason I kept turning the pages.

Some books succeed by stringing together well-written scenes, but Excellent Women succeeds as a beautifully orchestrated whole, with impeccable comic pacing.

I hope I am not overselling this book—to enjoy it, you have to be the kind of person who enjoys reading about a vicar's daughter making tea and organizing jumble sales for 270 pages. I just happen to be that person. ( )
  raschneid | Dec 19, 2023 |
Mildred is a very naive, sheltered, closed-minded woman with no more than a high-school education. She works in an agency that takes care in some way of ageing upper-middleclass women who live alone. She is also very involved with her local Anglican church. When a more educated, experienced couple moves into the flat below hers, she is confronted with experiences she is not ready for. All of a sudden everyone she knows is trying to find her a husband or somehow broaden her horizons, or both. While their manner is generally insulting and patronizing, she is not exactly comfortable with her status either.
Women like Mildred in real life drive me nuts, but this was a well-written book. I hated Mildred for most of the book, and was annoyed that she is the narrator and tells the story from her very immature perspective. I just finished a Sayers book about Lord Peter Wimsey, and several Wodehouse books about Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, so the snooty classist society setting was familiar enough, but I found it interesting how much the women in this novel limit themselves and each other even when the men around them are hoping they might break some of the more old-fashioned and silly social rules. I am so glad I did not grow up in such a community. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
Thinking about a 4 but I think the same thing that makes it an effective and clever portrait of a particular kind of life also makes it frustrating. Because it IS a fascinating portrait of a post-ww2 life that was disappearing - an unmarried woman with enough of an income to live day to day on from a genteel background who does "worthy" community things. And a lot of the other characters are in similar-ish positions. If a very gentle comedy in that setting sounds appealing to you then it's worth checking out! I think for me the comedy very rarely landed even though I could tell it was happening, which made the more "cringe" moments come to the fore. The main character is quite a doormat and again that's part of the point and I get it! I just never quite connected with the book fully cause of it. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
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Barbara Pymprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Ashizu, KaoriOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Ford, JessieOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Halligan, GeriFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Houweling, DjukeOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Wilson, A. N.Introduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"Ah, you ladies! Always on the spot when there's something happening!" The voice belonged to Mr Mallet, one of our churchwardens.
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"'Dear Mildred, you must learn to feel like drinking at any time. I shall make myself responsible for your education.'" (Rocky Napier to Mildred Lathbury)
I suppose an unmarried woman just over thirty, who lives alone and has no apparent ties, must expect to find herself involved or interested in other people's business, and if she is also a clergyman's daughter then one might really say that there is no hope for her.
Let me hasten to add that I am not at all like Jane Eyre, who must have given hope to so many plain women who tell their stories in the first person, nor have I ever thought of myself as being like her.
I was helping Winifred to sort out things for the jumble sale. "Oh, I think it's DREADFUL when people send their relations to jumble sales," she said. "How CAN they do it?" She held up a tarnished silver frame from which the head and shoulders of a woman dressed in Edwardian style looked out. "And here's another, a clergyman , too." ... "It might almost be somebody we know," lamented Winifred. "Imagine if it were and one saw it lying on the stall! What a shock it would be! I really think I must take the photographs out - it's the frames people will want to buy." "I don't suppose their own relatives send them," I said comfortingly. "I expect the photographs have been in the boxroom for years and nobody knows who they are now." "Yes, I suppose that's it. But it's the idea of being unwanted, it's like sending a PERSON to a jumble sale - do you see? You feel it more as you get older, of course. Young people would only laugh and think what a silly idea."
Virtue is an excellent thing and we should all strive after it, but it can sometimes be a little depressing.
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Ingen

"Excellent Women" is one of Barbara Pyms richest and most amusing high comedies. Mildred Lathbury is a clergymans 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 neighborsanthropologist Helena Napier and her handsome, dashing husband, Rocky, and Julian Malory, the vicar next doorthe novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires.

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Efterladte bibliotek: Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym har et Efterladt bibliotek. Efterladte Biblioteker er de personlige biblioteker fra berømte læsere, registreret af medlemmer fra gruppen Legacy Libraries som er det engelske udtryk for Efterladte Biblioteker.

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