Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (17)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet drama
We are in 1950s London with an excellent cast of characters. The pathalogically domesticated Keith, forever washing down paintwork and boiling discloths in Tide; Father Thames, the gourmet priest with a penchant for Lapsang Souchong which can never be satisfied at parish get-togethers; and the kleptomaniac Wilf Bason, housekeeper at the clergy house, whose idea of a...
Published on 18 Oct 2002 by christinekendell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Barbara Pym book
I wasnt keen on this book and found it quite depressing actually. The main character was a complete drip perhaps it is because it is set in the fifties, it all seemed unbelievable. Shant be reading any more of her books.
Published 7 months ago by ipswich


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet drama, 18 Oct 2002
This review is from: A Glass of Blessings (Paperback)
We are in 1950s London with an excellent cast of characters. The pathalogically domesticated Keith, forever washing down paintwork and boiling discloths in Tide; Father Thames, the gourmet priest with a penchant for Lapsang Souchong which can never be satisfied at parish get-togethers; and the kleptomaniac Wilf Bason, housekeeper at the clergy house, whose idea of a suitable meal for Lent is fried octopus; these are among the best.
Wilmet, the heroine, self-absorbed but aware to some extent of her failings, skims the surface of life without engaging with it. She is shocked out of her complacency by a series of events relating mainly to the novel's gay couple, Keith and Piers. When it was published, homosexuality was against the law, so it was a subversive element. However, it is handled with matter-of-factness, and there is very little Angst, except that Piers drinks more than is good for him, which could happen to any one.
Wilmet avoids being totally unsympathetic by the tone of her interior monologues, which have a lot in common with those of Miss Pym's spinster heroines - these include the references to Victorian literature and the interest in the details of other peoples' lives (as long as they are "people like us").
A top class Pym.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Wilmet Meet Herself?, 23 Jun 2004
By 
viv (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Glass of Blessings (Paperback)
Narrated by the shallow Wilmet, Glass of Blessings showcases Pym's wonderfully observant characterizations and contradictory impulses. Wilmet herself observes and comments but the reader soon learns that this self-absorbed woman is a narrator flawfully unself-aware. Pym includes deliciously witty commentary on class, church, and love through Wilmet's first person narration. No plot to speak of, naturally, but the question of Wilmet's realizing some understanding of love, of herself moves the reader through this sly wonderful novel, full of the blessings of Pym's irony.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An appealing heroine, 21 Dec 2009
This review is from: A Glass Of Blessings (VMC) (Paperback)
I read an extract from "A Glass of Blessings" in "The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories" where Barbara Pym is credited as being "one of the first English writers to include homosexual characters in her work without sensationalising or condemning them." What's equally remarkable is that when Pym wrote this novel,where a gay couple is presented in an entirely matter-of-fact manner, homosexuality was still a crime. Reading the whole book I was enchanted by the heroine, Wilmet Forsyth, 30-something, fashion-conscious, idle, bored, with an affluent and hard-working husband, an intellectual, do-gooding mother-in-law, and no less than three High Anglican priests to interest herself in! I can just picture Wilmet, in a classic 50s couture suit, fur stole, and high heels,taking a taxi to a ladies' lunch, and then going on to buy an elegant hat. But what makes her so appealing are her doubts, humour, self-awareness, and her recognition of her mistakes. She makes a cameo appearance too in "No Fond Return of Love", still secure and cherished, with her husband Rodney and the gay couple, Piers and Keith, all in attendance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully comic - and wonderfully sad, 17 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Glass Of Blessings (VMC) (Paperback)
Barbara Pym's novels gradually become closer to the bone - and much much sadder, while retaining a wonderful comic verve in terms of narrative and characterisation.

Wilmet Forsyth has been married for 10 years to a civil servant she met when they were both in Italy in wartime. She has no children and no occupation - her husband supports her, not it would seem so much from his income as a civil servant as from family wealth - they live in her mother-in-law's large house at a good address in 1950s London.

Three men assume particular significant in Wilmet's life - her best friend's brother, her best friend's husband and a new Father in the local church. Wilmet discovers that 'life isn't all it's cracked up to be and sometimes you discover you aren't as nice as you thought you were'. But this isn't Anna Karenina. And all is well that ends well: Wilmet decides that maybe her life, like that of her dowdy, newly-married more religious friend, is also a 'glass of blessings', a quotation which we learn comes from George Herbert. God, it would seem had 'a glass of blessings standing by' when he 'at first made man'.

Quite how Barbara Pym manages to get to some of the depths of the human heart, to sympathise with she finds there, and at the same time to make us laugh probably would repay deep analysis. I simply look forward to reading the novel that she wrote next!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The rarest of treasures ...", 16 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Glass Of Blessings (VMC) (Paperback)
Anne Tyler's observation that "Barbara Pym is the rarest of treasures; she reminds us of the heartbreaking silliness of everyday life' is wonderfully apposite. Having discovered her for myself over twenty years ago, I have once more fallen into her web and what a joy it is. Resistance is futile. Although trite and over used, reference to her and Jane Austin is not inappropriate. If you hate Austin, stay away from Pym. Loving Austin is no guarantee that you will love -- or even like -- Pym but it is a good point of departure. Starting with the original six is essential. For the later novels, try The Sweet Dove Died to get a flavour of the renewed Pym and to see how the new world she created in the 1970s is so distant from the early post-war period of the 1950s.

Choosing a favourite is not of much import to me but A Glass of Blessings should not be missed. For a beginner, I would start at the beginning if for no other reason than the silly pleasure of meeting character from earlier novels wandering into the one you are currently reading. If you miss Willmet, Keith, Piers and Rodney from Blessings ..., they wander into No Fond Return of Love "like characters in a novel' according to Viola. Even Barbara pops in for breakfast. If all this seems remarkably twee, Pym is probably not for you. If this kind of literary silliness speaks to your condition then Barbara Pym may become your new favourite author. If you are a beginner, I envy your voyage of discovery.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glass of praise, 26 Sep 2008
By 
T. Bently "tbently" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Glass of Blessings (Paperback)
A Glass of Blessings (along with Excellent Women) is one of my favourite Pym novels and certainly the funniest. I'm not sure why she is compared to Jane Austen (she owes no more to her than do a lot of other writers both male and female) or why the cover blurb says she makes readers smile. Most readers will be reduced to laughing out loud - this novel of 1950s mores seems hardly to have dated at all, despite taking as its subject the leisured life of a stay-at-home wife and the amorous adventures of various clergymen.

Rather, she is a kind of ecclesiastical version of Nancy Mitford, as the various inhabitants of a London parish and the more worldly-world of the disolute Piers and Keith come under the superior eye of Wilmet. I particularly liked the verger's (I think) joy at discovering dry rot in the church ("It will make a man of him") and Mr. Bason's career as a chef-cum-antiques shop manager in Devon. Highly recommended
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilmet's blessings, 7 Oct 2000
By 
Lynette Baines (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Wilmet Forsyrh is an attractive woman in her 30's with not enough to do. She lives with her husband, Rodney, in her mother-in-law Sybil's house in London, and fills up her days with lunchtime church services and idle speculations about her friends. Wilmet's assumptions about her husband, her friends and her own life are usually mistaken, yet we want to believe in them just as much as Wilmet does. At the end of the novel, Wilmet has to come to terms with her mistakes, and she realises how lucky she really is. Some of Pym's best character names are in this novel- Piers Longridge, Wilfred Basin and Marius Ransome (the curate) among them. Susan Jameson's reading of the novel is excellent. She gives Wilmet a touch of wistfulness which is just right, and she has fun with the kleptomaniac Mr Basin. A great recording.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pym seems comfy but she is anything but!, 1 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really do think that Barbara Pym was a 20th century Jane Austen or perhaos more fairly, Trollope: Anthony not Joanna. You can read her books on two levels: fairly mundane daily life musings of dry spinsters or frustrated housewives usually involved with the world of the (high) Anglican church and/or archaeology. If read on this level they are dull. But she has a forensic eye for character and a dry wit that many may mistake for lack of humour. This book has a haunting theme of unsatisfactory marriages and unrequited crushes on men who totally unattainable to make up for the failings of intimacy. The objects of desire are obviously gay but she must have been constrained by 1950s morals from saying so, so it had to be implied which makes for some tortuous explanations to get around the obvious! I thoroughly enjoyed it and it spurred me to read more Pym.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overflowing Plesure, 27 May 2010
By 
LFJ Hardwick - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Glass Of Blessings (VMC) (Paperback)
This is some of the very best of Barbara Pym: gently satiric or openly ironic, the range of characters often gives rise to humorous encounters in which the humour is apparent only to the reader. Joy,happiness and disappointment are seen in ordinary (very middle class) lives.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read !, 3 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This author was recommended by a friend and I really enjoyed it. Will defintely be reading more of Barbara Pym.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Glass Of Blessings (VMC)
A Glass Of Blessings (VMC) by Barbara Pym (Paperback - 3 Dec 2009)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews