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Saturday, March 16, 2013

CIVIL TO STRANGERS by BARBARA PYM



I have read Barbara Pym before and this is my second read of her books. The main story is about Adam a pathetic poet and Cassandra the wife who knows all the weaknesses of her husband and how best he should be handled. Into a very idyllic English village comes a "foreigner" a Hungarian who brings   rare excitement into the mundane everyday lives of this little village. To get away from it all Cassandra arranges a European trip for herself not knowing that the Hungarian is also going away home at the same time and on the same train.  Having been seen by two of the people from the village, this sets a series of speculations as to whether they have run away together and whether the poor husband is unaware of the fact. How the villagers try to find out whether Adam is aware of what is going on and how both Adam and Cassandra handle the situation is the main story. Innocent of it all Cassandra and Adam have to try to show everyone that things are not as complicated as it may seem. 

There are three other short stories and one essay all of which were unpublished at the time of her death.  Ms. Pym brings us in touch with rural English life as it was in the 1900s as well as the influence and effect of WWI on British life. 

This book was for me not on the same level as Excellent Women but interesting all the same. 



4 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one -- you always read such an interesting mix of literature.

Noelle the dreamer said...

Sounds good none the less to me Mystica and thank you for sharing!

Noelle the dreamer said...

Our library not only had Civil Strangers and Other Writings but also one titled Jane and Prudence. I ordered both, thank you Friend!

Lisa said...

I'd never heard of Pym before this month & now several bloggers have been talking about her books. I'm going to have to pick one up.