Barbara Pym: An Excellent Woman

Beth Gutcheon at The Hudson Review:

Readers who love Barbara Pym love her voice. She is an acute observer and describer of things and a gifted portraitist. Her canvas is small, but within it, she is interested in everything: clothes, food, décor, love, kindness, unkindness, self-presentation and self-deception. She is wryly and quietly funny. With each novel, she gives us a new version of her world, and their incre­mental changes of focus and sympathy are fascinating. Whether you share her concerns or preoccupations or want to live in her world hardly matters; the achievement is that she takes something real and moving and multidimensional and gets it onto the flat page, completely alive.

We are interested in the lives of writers in appreciation of a gift, hoping to understand the endlessly interesting alchemy of a particular kind and size of talent expressed through a particular personality. Pym was always reworking The Marriage Story, but she is the anti-Austen, in that her protagonists rarely marry.

more here.