Excellent Women by Barbara Pym: The Classics Club

This was January’s classic read for The Roundabout goodreads group so I picked it up in order to tick another one off of the list. This book was on my Classics TBR as I kept seeing Barbara Pym pop up on various book review sites and videos so I wanted to give her a go and this seemed her most famous.

Excellent Women is a very quiet novel where not much happens, much like Christopher Isherwood’s A Quiet Man which I finished yesterday. Mildred, our main character is a very steady, reliable church-going spinster, as such other people fill her days with jobs and their problems. Through Mildred we meet the vicar and his sister Winifred, the various other women like Mildred who do many jobs for the church and Rocky, a handsome soldier and his wife Helena. Helena is everything Mildred isn’t – an anthropologist with a but work/social life, worried about her appearance, unfaithful and a slob.When Helena and Rocky come into Mildred’s life she is suddenly pulled into their quarrels and daily life – even at times cleaning up after the pair of them!

As I said very little happens, the events are small town scandal and day-to-day life. The back of my edition says that the book is funny, but I didn’t find it so, I often wanted to shout at Mildred to put down their washing up, or to say no to all the people arriving expecting tea or lunch. That said I enjoyed the book in the end.



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