Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick Looks: Recently Enjoyed

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
"I’ve chosen to give the telling of the story to Penelope and to the twelve hanged maids. The maids form a chanting and singing Chorus, which focuses on two questions that must pose themselves after any close reading of the Odyssey: What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? ...I’ve always been haunted by the hanged maids and, in The Penelopiad, so is Penelope herself."  (From Margaret Atwood’s Foreword to The Penelopiad)

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
"Excellent Women is one of Barbara Pym’s richest and most amusing high comedies. Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman’s daughter and a mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. She is one of those “excellent women,” the smart, supportive, repressed women who men take for granted.  ...The novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived in a vanishing world of manners and repressed desires."  (From Amazon)


  1. I am not a person who re-reads books. Don't see the point.
    I may make an exception due to the economic crisis that has gripped the world.

    Due to your post I remember this author and she has long lingered in my mind.

    Barbara Pym, a hidden treasure you just have to find her on your reading path. I read Quartet in Autumn (shortlisted for Booker Prize, 1977) many years ago. Now that I am reaching the age when retirement is probably inevitable due to the economic situation, perhaps it is time to re-read how 4 people try to cope with this new phase in their lives.

    1. This was my first Barbara Pym. It had an interesting combination of understated wit, sadness, and hope. Yes, I'm also getting to the age... I may try Quartet in Autumn too.