Excellent Women is one of Barbara Pym’s best-known novels. And Barbara Pym is one of Britain’s most beloved authors. Despite being discovered quite late, Barbara Pym, an author who managed to become immortal, is known as modern Jane Austen. Be that as it may, I liked Barbara Pym more than I like Jane Austen. I think you can easily understand why if you read Excellent Women.
If you watch a lot of British TV series like me, you will warm up to Excellent Women in the first few pages. You will feel as if you are watching a TV series and no matter what, love the characters. In 1950s England, you will disguise as Mildred Lathbury, trying to do everything right, and look at the world through her eyes. You will observe your neighbours like she does and listen to the gossip in the neighbourhood. Even if you have not consumed anything “British” in your life, you will love this book. No matter where they live, we all have great prejudices about women living alone. While you read Excellent Women, you will see these lonely women, and you will see that they are not as we thought. And laugh a lot on the way.
Excellent Women is an excellent book and a must-read for all the literary fiction lovers our there. Enjoy!
Mildred Lathbury is one of those ‘excellent women’ who is often taken for granted. She is a godsend, ‘capable of dealing with most of the stock situations of life – birth, marriage, death, the successful jumble sales, the garden fete spoilt by bad weather’. As such, she often gets herself embroiled in other people’s lives – especially those of her glamorous new neighbours, the Napiers, whose marriage seems to be on the rocks. One cannot take sides in these matters, though it is tricky, especially as Mildred, teetering on the edge of spinsterhood, has a soft spot for dashing young Rockingham Napier. This is Barbara Pym’s world at its funniest and most touching.
Barbara Mary Crampton Pym was an English novelist. In the 1950s she published a series of social comedies, of which the best known are Excellent Women and A Glass of Blessings.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: