This November we are reading Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women.
One of the most endearingly amusing English novels of the twentieth century – Alexander McCall Smith
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.
Excellent Women is available from any good bookstore or online at Waterstones, The Hive and Amazon. Plus, you can enter our prize draw to win one of three copies of our beautiful Virago Modern Classics edition. Click here to enter.
I don’t think I’ve ever before recommended a novel as one that everybody will enjoy and yet – even with a certain assurance – I’m prepared to vouch for EXCELLENT WOMEN – Marghanita Laski, OBSERVER