Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, We were at the Children's Library in Sea Cliff last week, waiting for our children to finish up with Chess Club when my friend Jen Sebetic told me about an author she had recently discovered- Barbara Pym. Well, I remember that Pym is a big favorite of yours also, so do you have a particular novel of hers that I might enjoy? Potential Pymite

Dear Potential , Your friend Jen has exquisite taste- Barbara Pym (1913-1980) wrote twelve books ,any of which I would heartily recommend . However, since this week is the annual Pym conference in Oxford, England (which of course myself and the entire Sea Cliff chapter of the Pym Society will be attending), I recommend you read CRAMPTON HODNET , this year's featured novel . Set in Oxford with its ancient colleges and medieval rituals and written decades ago, the novel has a surprisingly modern tone. It is a very funny take on village life, a village peopled by quirky characters including pretentious professors, young romantics, philandering spouses, and interfering relatives. There are three intersecting plot lines: the middle aged Cleveland's dalliances , the young Cleveland daughter's tryst with an insufferable future politician, and the lonely but very witty Jessie Morrow's passionless affair with a local clergyman (he forgets her name as he is proposing). Misread moments, tangled romances, and furtive escapades all make for a hilarious read.

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