- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Flamingo; (Reissue) edition (22 Aug. 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 000654780X
- ISBN-13: 978-0006547808
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.1 x 13 cm
- Average Customer Review: 73 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,915,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Quartet in Autumn Paperback – 22 Aug 1994
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|Paperback, 22 Aug 1994||
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Brought together by their shared office life, faded Letty, small, wiry Norman, eccentric Marcia and devout Edwin, are an unlikely group of friends, but nevertheless find themselves drawn to discuss their different dreams and plans for the future. This book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
From the Back Cover
Barbara Pym’s sensitive wit and artistry are at their most sparkling in 'quartet in Autumn'. Brought together by their shared office life, fluffily faded Letty, small, wiry Norman, enigmatically eccentric Marcia and neatly devout Edwin, are an unlikely group of friends. Apart from work, they have little in common, but nevertheless find themselves frequently drawn to discuss their very different dreams and plans for the future…
‘Quartet in Autumn is immeasurably her finest work of fiction’
PAUL BAILEY, 'Evening Standard'
‘Very funny and keenly observant of the ridiculous as well as the pathetic in humanity.’
‘An alert miniaturist… her novels have a distinctive flavour, as instantly recognisable as lapsang tea.’
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Add to this you have the loneliness of retirement and the impact it has on single people.
Gosh I have made it sound depressing. It isn't.
There is a great deal of humour in the characterisation and the situations the characters find themselves in. I particularly like the social worker.
I first read this in my 30's and recently read it again in my late 50's and perhaps even enjoyed it more this time.
The story deals with issues we must all face at some point in our lives. Loneliness, independence, being used and using. The minor characters are well realised - Mrs Pope - who Letty lodges with; Father G the priest with whom Edwin is friends; Marjorie who would like Letty to live with her if there are no better alternatives; and Janice - the social worker - who visits Marcia with the best of intentions.
Four people growing old and dealing with life's slings and arrows in the only way they know how. Of the four Letty is perhaps the most likeable, striving as she does to keep the peace, realising by the end of the book that Marjorie is not the best friend she could have and finding the courage to make her own choices. All four will stay in your mind long after you have finished reading. I shall definitely be looking for more books by Barbara Pym. If you like Anita Brookner you will enjoy this - Barbara Pym has the same acute eye for all the facets of everyday life.
There appears to be very little fiction currently that covers the angst of aging; infact finding any literature that is more existentialist is is difficult. Having said this I would recommend anyone whose interested in the human condition to read it as you will get out of it whatever your own experience will relate to. A really enjoyable, relaxing read
I know Barbara Pym wished that just a little bit of Jane Austen would rub off on her. She was too modest. She is a fantastic author, insightful, compassionate and funny.
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