Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Barbara and Hilary

Jane and Prudence
Barbara Pym

"'Paul is reading Geography,' (Jane) explained.
'It must be a fascinating subject.
All those tables of rainfall and the other things
- vegetation, climate, soil...'
She waved her hands about,
seeming unable to go any further
into the delights of Geography."


I thought that this book was too slight, too trivial.

I was wrong.

It is as delicate as a clear soup,
each flavour separate but carefully balanced.

The memory of this book lingers after reading,
fragments of writing bubble to the surface of the mind
and burst with rapid release of laughter.

It is like the smallest amuse bouche,
frivolous and foamy in a tiny bowl,
enchanting the palate and remaining distinct*
however nutritious the meal that follows.

*I hope so
because I am just about to start
a heavyweight, Booker nominated, good-for- me book.

Pass the indigestion tablets...


  1. If the Mantel book is well-written, it may be a banquet!

    If not...have you got a Geography handy?

    (I've been having trouble sleeping lately, and my solution has been listening to P.G. Wodehouse audiobooks. You might not want to pay any attention to my literary comments.)

  2. I am allergic to Hillary Mantel. Ever since I struggled throug Beyond Black which wins my award for book I hated the most yet still finished.

    But I quite fancy Heliopolis, which I may make my bookgroup read next month.

  3. Mmmmm - they do say Milk of Magnesia is also quite good - or you might just find that instead of biting off more than you can chew it makes a delicious foray into gluttony instead

  4. Aha, a literary canape. Thankyou for the recemmendation. Good luck with the worthy read

  5. I am so going to read the first book - but probably not the second!

  6. I think my 'bouche ' would be more 'amused' by the former. But you do need your roughage as well.Let us know if it agrees.

  7. But I think Barbara Pym is very good for you...and probably more enjoyable too! A new copy of Some Tame Gazelle is winging its way to me at the moment--hooray! K x

  8. Oh dear, you're the second person who has recommended Barbara Pym, and I tried, honestly I did, but I just didn't really enjoy the one novel of hers (No Fond Return of Love) that I read.

    Mind you, I think I am rapidly becoming the doom-merchant of our village book group as I seem to dislike 70% of the books we choose! I expect I'll be expelled soon.

  9. I do like Barbara Pym, although I haven't read anything by her since I was in graduate school and I devoured all of her books because I was supposed to be reading something else. I can vouch for Wodehouse audiobooks, too. M has been listening to them lately and we hear her up in her room laughing out loud. Last night, N and I were flossing our teeth (why? I don't know) and M came out to give us the whole plot of a story that was particularly entertaining and featured rubles and a Russian author, which she thought N might be interested in.


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