Reading Group to discuss Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
Sunday, October 15, 2023
4:30pm - 6:00pm Pacific
San Francisco location emailed to registrants two days before meeting.
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Quartet in Autumn
Barbara Pym 218 pages 1977
Four single people, who have all lived unspectacularly, have little in common except for working as clerks in the same London office for years. Each has his/her own eccentricities and approach to aging. When two of them retire, the lives of all four are threatened. English novelist Pym wrote Quartet during the 15 years when she’d lost hope of ever being published again. Then, in 1977, The Times Literary Supplement asked prominent literary figures to list the most underrated British author of the century; Pym was the only one named twice (by poet Philip Larkin and critic Lord David Cecil). Quartet was shortlisted for the Booker Prize that year.
Pym “knew that Letty, Edwin, Marcia and Norman were utterly worthy of her and our attention….Every sentence in this novel manages to be simultaneously hilarious and almost unbearably bleak” —Ysendra Maxtone Graham, The Times
“A marvel of fictional harmonics, a beautifully calm and rounded passage in and out of four isolated individuals as they feebly, fitfully grope toward an ideal solidarity”--John Updike, The New Yorker.