Lighthearted fun but definitely more snarky than Austen!
I've loved Barbara Pym's writing since I discovered her over 10 years ago. I love her subtle humor. In this novel, I especially love the moments during awkward encounters when Miss Morrow says something wonderfully sane and kind, and her comment is quickly and embarrassingly dismissed and forgotten by all present.
Great writing in true Austen/Pym style.
My favorite of all her books. It begins with tea on a rainy afternoon in North Oxford. I just want to be there and know these people.
A fairly young cleric who declares his intentions for a comfortable, spinster companion to the rock of North Oxford society, an aging Oxford don who falls foolishly in love with a bright, pretty student in spite of the fact that he has been comfortably married to a worthy woman for many years, and his young adult daughter who is madly in love with a shallow young man, who on the surface, seems to be a perfect match - these are the characters that inhabit North Oxford in Barbara Pym's first novel.
This was my first exposure to Barbara Pym, and I really enjoyed it.
The characters were great archetypes, (especially the forbidding Mrs. Doggett), and Pym wrote about the follies of love and romance almost as well as Jane Austen. Her observations of human character are just as keen and timelessly relevant as Austen's.
I also loved the feeling at the end that no matter what would go wrong in the lives of the characters there was a dual sense of fresh new beginnings like that of the new school term, and a sense of solid timelessness and comfort like the university, itself.
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