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Civil to Strangers: Complete & Unabridged (Gold Range) [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Barbara Pym , Gretel Davis
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1997 Gold Range
By the same author as "Quartet in Autumn", this volume contains one complete novel, sections of three others, the best of her short stories and an autobiographical essay. The title novel describes the disruption caused in a small Shropshire town when a mysterious Hungarian arrives.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753101882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753101889
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.1 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,729,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

This volume includes an early novel and three novellas, which were discovered and published after Barbara Pym's death in 1980. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Barbara Pym (1913-80) was born in Shropshire and educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford. When in 1977 the TLS asked critics to name the most underrated authors of the past 75 years, only one was named twice (by Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil): Barbara Pym. Her novels are characterised by what Anne Tyler has called 'the heartbreaking silliness of everyday life'. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful book 25 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
another wonderful and witty book from my favourite author. it is just about people and how they are. i would recommend it to everyone.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Gems 11 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came late to the work of Barbara Pym not recognising her perceptive wit and satirical qualities when younger. I now am devouring any of her work I can find. She was superb. Finding this collection of unfinished and shorter pieces was pure joy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dull 13 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found these stories dull. And dated - hardly surprising. And I didn't finish the book. Which is unusual for me. Nuff said!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Civil to strangers 29 April 2013
By KatyH
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An interesting book- several short stories- mainly depicting life in an English town or village around the time of the second world war. Barbara Pym was very good at describing the details of everyday life for a single woman in reduced circumstances.
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