by Barbara Pym
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Dulcie always found a public library a little upsetting, for one saw so many odd people there, and it must be supposed that a certain proportion came in because they had nowhere else to go. Others were less easy to classify and less worrying. Why, for instance, was a reasonably prosperous-looking middle-aged woman--the smartness of her clothes detracted from by the dowdy laced-up shoes that told of bad feet--so anxious to get hold of a pre-war Kelly's Directory of Somerset?" (p. 52)I found Miss Dulcie Mainwaring a delightful character. Very proper and respectable on the outside, but with a sharp observational wit which she mostly keeps to herself. This novel is about a group of people living in and around London (mostly in a suburb near Kensington) and the daily concerns and events of their world. At the start of the story many of them don't know one another, but through the book Pym shows how they are interconnected or brings them together in ways that seem inevitable and connections are made. There are lots of vicars, oceans of tea, and a charming sense of the absurdities of life.
This book counts as my British title for the European Reading Challenge.