Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Young Writer Discovers Barbara Pym, Makes Blogger Very Happy!

I hope this post won’t be “too much Barbara Pym” for readers, as I have mentioned her wonderful novels several times, and especially wrote about her work on 7/7/13 and on 8/13/13. But I was so pleased when I saw, in the 1/5/14 issue of The New York Times Book Review “Inside the List” column, a short but glowing tribute to Barbara Pym by the young female Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Adichie (author of “Americanah”) that I felt I had to write about it. The columnist, Gregory Cowles, asked the authors of the NYTBR’s “10 Best Books of 2013” to name “the best book you read this year (whether it was published in 2013 or not).” Adichie responded enthusiastically as follows: “I discovered Barbara Pym’s ‘A Glass of Blessings’ this year and could not believe I had never read Pym. I loved it. It does that ancient, wonderful thing literature is supposed to do: instruct and delight. Pym is brilliant…very witty and very funny and very insightful, and…somehow manages to be both prim and subversive.” I loved Adichie's response, as she – especially in that last line about “both prim and subversive” -- gets at something unique in Pym’s work. I am also excited to learn of a young author (Adichie is in her thirties) discovering Pym; I am so glad that this younger generation continues to read and appreciate Pym, and I hope that they will continue to do so for many years to come.

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