This was the last of Barbara Pym's writings to be published - a collection of early works, written before her first published novel (although after the first draft of that novel), four short stories (one also predating the published works) and a short piece for BBC radio on 'finding a voice'.
It was clearly right to make this work available. We'd otherwise be wondering about all those other things Pym had written that hadn't been published and that might, for all we knew, have been masterpieces. The early novel and three novellas, sadly, are not in the same league as Pym's later work - though they all have their moments.
The four short stories are slight, the two dating from the late 70s are clearly in Pym's own established 'voice' in a way the earlier work is not. It's nice to have more about Faustina the cat and the Aingers (characters from An Unsuitable Attachment) and the short story about being a guest at an Oxford college feast and meeting an old love who doesn't remember you - and where you too don't remember all you might, accurately about him.
The radio talk is charmingly modest; and tells us about the influence on Pym of Aldous Huxley, Ivy Compton Burnett, someone called Elizabeth and the author of Elizabeth and her German Garden - and Jane Austen and Trollope. The most interesting point, however, is where she says that at Oxford she wrote something about someone she was (unhappily) in love with - and later transmuted this into comedy in one of her novels. (Presumably, Henry Harvey who becomes the Archdeacon in Some Tame Gazelle). Sadly she doesn't tell us how she managed this...
In short, Pym is a really enjoyable novelist at her best, who sees deeply into the human heart and sees both the comedy and the tragedy of life. But here her gifts are not displayed at their best.