I finally, FINALLY read my first Barbara Pym novel — and it was her first novel, too: Some Tame Gazelle. Although Pym is a favorite of several of the bloggers I read, I first heard about her books when I was in college. A friend and her mother were addicted to her books, but I never picked one up. They liked the books, they told me, because they were these stories about quaint English village life, yet they were subtly funny.
Some Tame Gazelle proved to be all that. Belinda and Harriet are spinster sisters who share a house in a small village. Belinda is dowdy, timid, and self-doubting, yet has been resignedly in love with the local (married) archdeacon for more than thirty years. She knows it will never come to anything, so it is almost an indulgence. Her sister, however, is an overweight fashionista who fusses and fawns over each new curate and turns down regular marriage proposals from a devoted count. The loose plot surrounds the arrival of a new curate and the visit of a bishop. It’s not much really. The book is more character sketches of these sisters and their relationships. Continue reading