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Some Tame Gazelle
 
by
Barbara Pym
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Some Tame Gazelle

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,088 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Barbara Pym is a master at capturing the subtle mayhem that takes place in the apparent quiet of the English countryside. Some Tame Gazelle, first published in Britain nearly 50 years ago, was the first of Pym's nine novels, all being reprinted by Mayer Bell.

In the fictional village of Some Tame Gazelle, spinsters, clerics, and eccentrics are the order of the day. Fifty-so

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Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by Audio Book Contractors (first published 1950)
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Mary Ronan Drew
Rereading Barbara Pym periodically is enlightening. When I first encountered her books I thought they were somewhat amusing but not in the least profound. As I grow older I recognize how perceptive her depiction is of unmarried middle aged women whose lives have constricted to the daily round and the common task with its small pleasures and pains.

Pym was born in 1913 and was 37 when Some Tame Gazelle was published in 1950, but she showed a remarkable sensitivity to women in their 50s, spinsters,...more
Russell
A Barbara Pym novel for me is the greatest of guilty pleasures. Though this is not my favorite of her novels, it was a wonderful reminder of all the reasons that I adore her.

The story of two spinster sisters in a tiny township in England, where the most exciting news is the arrival of a new curate for the church, should not be page turning reading. But, I will tell you that no one is better at developing the simple lives of wonderfully complex people like Barbara Pym. I hesitate to compare her...more
Bibliophile
Barbara Pym started writing this, her first novel, in her twenties. Basing the characters on herself and her sister and friends, she placed them, middle-aged, in a parochial setting in the countryside.

Sisters Belinda (Pym) and Harriet (Pym's sister Hilary) are confirmed spinsters sharing a house and a life filled with gardening, church activities and endless speculation about other people's comings and goings. Belinda carries a torch for the Archdeacon, who is unhappily married to prickly Agath...more
Jane
In the middle of the 1930s, not long after she came down from Oxford, the young Barbara Pym wrote her first novel. She borrowed a title from Thomas Haynes Bayley.


"Some tame gazelle, or some gentle dove:
Something to love, oh, something to love!"


Its significance wasn’t clear to me at first, but as I read understood.

And then Barbara Pym imagined how she and her sister might be, thirty years in the future. She creates that world, perfect in every detail, a future built on the world she knew that wo...more
Laurele
I really enjoy Barbara Pym's quiet, peppery humor. I wish she were better known. I thoroughly approve of the way this book ends.
Esther
Oh this is my third Barbara Pym and she's fast becoming a complete delight. The literary equivalent of sinking your teeth into a delicious afternoon tea. This was wickedly funny, spinsters, vicars, the dilemmas of knitting socks. No-one captures the absurdities of English village life like Pym.
Tony
SOME TAME GAZELLE. (1950). Barbara Pym. *****.
This was Ms. Pym’s first novel, and clearly showed the talent that was to flow from her pen in succeeding years. The title comes from a poem by Thomas Haynes Bayly:
Some tame gazelle, or some gentle dove:
Somethng to love, oh, something to love!
The gazelle (or dove) referred to takes on the form of a curate or curates in the village where two sisters, now approaching spinsterhood, live together and spend their lives helping their neighbors and, espe...more
Roger Pettit
Barbara Pym may not be the the very best novelist that has ever put pen to paper. But she is unquestionably my favourite. She has provided me with more hours of pure reading pleasure than any other writer I can think of (only Agatha Christie, whose detective stories I devoured when I was a teenager and who, with Enid Blyton, is primarily responsible for my love of reading, comes close). Yes, Ms Pym's stories are usually set in what now seems like an almost vanished world of genteel Anglo-Catholi...more
Jordan
10/15/13
loved this the 2nd time around and think i will love it more and more with each future read.

9/8/13
ohhhh happy to be reading this again! the first paragraph is so funny and great!!!
"the new curate seemed quite a nice young man, but what a pity it was that his combinations showed, tucked carelessly into his socks, when he sat down. Belinda had noticed it when they had met him for the first time at the vicarage last week and had felt quite embarrassed. Perhaps Harriet could say something t...more
Writerlibrarian
Published in 1950, it's a wonderful if somewhat bittersweet tale of two sisters, Belinda and Harriet single women in a time when women were expected to marry or live in a very coded way. Belinda has been holding a torch for Henry, the archdeacon for 30 years since he chose to marry Agatha. Harriet spends her time pampering every new vicar that arrives in the village, refusing marriage proposals from a middle age Italian Count. It's every day life at his simplest but also at it's most poignant. L...more
Susan
This was my first Pym, although she was recommended to me years ago on Amazon; I picked up a few ancient paperback editions from my local used book store over the years and put them on the "to-read" shelf. I just finished "Some Tame Gazelle" last night, and I really enjoyed it. I know Pym's been compared to Austen, and I see that, but I also think, as a NYT reviewer says on the cover of my edition, ". . .Barbara Pym is funnier!" Reading her makes me feel like I do when I read Anthony Trollope: t...more
Kristine
I love the many references in this book to stopping everything one is doing and having tea around 4pm. Tea is taken the proper English way with milk plus cakes and biscuits are served. In this little English village, the two 40-something sisters have a lovely life of inviting the clergy and anyone new who visits over for dinner. I couldn't get over how a few times during the story, a man who stop over to propose to one of the sisters after only being in her acquaintance once or twice. I guess ha...more
Lydia
Barbara Pym is not for everyone...Her main characters are always maiden ladies of a certain age living in small villages in England sometime after WWII. They are engaged in fastidious (yet hilarious) tasks usually involving the parsonage and a young, unsuspecting curate who will need to eat their boiled chicken dinners before he leaves for another post. They dissect all encounters with food, neighbors, men, clothing, dust, and the garden. There is the upmost respect for librarians and anyone who...more
Kim
Wonderful book, wonderful author. I don't know whether to mourn that I have missed reading these books for the past years, or rejoice because I have so many hours of enjoyment ahead reading more of Pym's books.
Margaret Sullivan
Absolutely delightful! If Jane Austen had been alive and writing in the 1930s, this is just the type of book she might write. Middle-aged spinster Belinda Bede lives with her sister Harriet in a small English village. She's been in love with the vicar since they were in college together, but he's married to someone else; and Harriet gets crushes on each curate in turn. I loved how the characters are all middle-aged, but get as silly and have as many proposals and marriages as the young people in...more
Ali
Some Tame Gazelle
Some Tame Gazelle, or some gentle dove:
Something to love, oh something to love!
(Thomas Haynes Bayly)
My first read of 2013, and the first read of two reading challenges. Some Tame Gazelle fitted into my month of re-reading, and the Barbara Pym centenary readalong with members of the Libraryuthing Virago group and other Pym fans.
Some Tame Gazelle was Barbara Pym’s first published novel; published in 1950 it was in fact written much earlier. Pym was writing the novel while she hers...more
Dolly
This book was the selection for July for my local book club. It's not my typical fare and I don't know if I would've read it if it hadn't been for my club. But I found it to be an entertaining tale, if a bit dry. I have never read Pride and Prejudice, but I imagine this is a similar kind of tale. I enjoy stories set in England, but I tend to prefer cozy mysteries.

The dialogue is witty and the social commentary is humorous and somewhat biting. I enjoyed the interpersonal relationships in such a...more
Nancy
In the 80's the Pym novels were re-issued, and the author received very belated adulation for her work. At that time, I binged on Pym and now I am re-reading some of the novels for perhaps the third time.

For me, the fascination is in comparing the lives of her educated, middle-class women with ours today. In some of the other books her "excellent women" work in non-profit associations or semi-academic positions. Not so, for the University graduates in Some Tame Gazelle. Their lives are small, re...more
JackieB
This book is about the humdrum lives of two middle-aged spinster sisters. Belinda, the eldest sister, nurses an unrequited (and unrequitable) love for the Vicar, who is married to someone else. Harriet, the youngest, fusses over young curates and refuses the repeated proposals of an Italian count. There is a bit more to the plot than that, but not a lot. It should have been totally boring, but it wasn't, thanks to the way she explored her characters' quirks and foibles. This wasn't in an unpleas...more
Paige
This is the first Pym book I've read. The novel sets out to observe a small village in 1950s England and peers into the domestic lives of the people who go about their daily business planting bulbs, gossiping, buying groceries, sharing meals, and looking in on one another. It has the flavor of Mrs.Dallloway in that it follows the preparation of meals, the thoughts of the women protagonists, the business of daily living. It lacks the drama of the Brontes or Jane Austin, but in that subtlety lies...more
Cat
"There was of course nothing she would have liked better than to hear dear Henry reciting Milton, but somehow with Agatha outside and so much to be done it didn't seem quite the thing. Also, it was the morning and it seemed a little odd to be thinking about poetry before luncheon."

I really enjoyed this book. Pym's witty observations about life's idiosyncrancies and the importance of tea at four o'clock are a joy to read.
Sonja Reid
Another enjoyable re-read that feels like putting on a cosy and completely unfashionable sweater on a cold and rainy day. Pym does well with her astute observations on the mundane rewards and irritations of parish life. There is lots of tea and cakes and boiled chicken being served to the typical cast of crotchety characters in the usual mid-century British village. Spinsters and clergy and academics, oh my!
Kathryn
I thought I'd give Barbara Pym another chance since I'd heard so many good things about her, and I am so glad I did. This was a bittersweet portrait of two spinster sisters that revolves around the idea that everyone needs something to love. Again, her characters are very well drawn and she manages to present their foibles and weaknesses in a humorous, but tender way. Very nice indeed.
Kelly
I've heard a couple people describe Barbara Pym as a modern-day Jane Austen. I love Austen's books, so I decided to give Pym a try, and I wasn't disappointed. This book was a very enjoyable read. It's definitely more character-driven than plot-driven, but I still had a hard time putting it down once I picked it up. I'll be sure to seek out more of Pym's work in the future.
Patricia
Barbara Pym's novels are the most literary I've ever read and that, in itself, makes them extraordinarily pleasurable reads. She also, even in her earliest works (of which this is one), has the capacity to stare unblinkingly but not unkindly at people whom we might otherwise be inclined to judge as "silly".
Autumn
Cold weather and an unsure heart calls for Barbara Pym. Very happy to sink into Some Tame Gazelle again.

Loved it! My first Barbara Pym book. I can feel my semi-dormant Anglophilia coming back in full force. Can't wait to read more of her books.

Jennifer
Pym's first book. Why does everything she writes have to include anthropologists and churches? This is a fun read.
Debbie
LibrayThing’s Virago Group is reading twelve of Barbara Pym’s mid-twentieth century novels to celebrate the centenary of her birth. This happens to be the only Pym that I’ve already read, and I enjoyed it just as much this time around.

This was originally recommended by a reader after I reviewed Miss Read’s charming journals of English country life in the 1950s.

Also set in an English country village and in the same time period, the style is more reminiscent of Jane Austen than Miss Read.

Barbara P...more
Sandra
Some Tame Gazelle
By Barbara Pym


Ms Pym’s first novel published in England. Though I cannot say I enjoyed it as much as her other novels – I must be honest and say – I’ve struggled reading anything lately.
I have been very distracted lately. I read some pages, dropped the book, picked them back up and thought now “who is who?” Finally last night, after sipping wine with my mother and crying on her shoulder for some time – I decided that Ms. Pym is what the doctor ordered.
Sure enough . No I’m not cu...more
Janet
Some times you want to slip into a comfy pair of slippers and sink into a cozy chair by the fire with a hot cup of tea. Barbara Pym is the personification of this inclination. When I read the novel "Some Day This Pain Will be Useful to You" by Peter Cameron and Barbara Pym was mentioned as a favorite author by the protagonist, I read my first Pym book "Jane and Prudence" and ever since, it has been an addiction. As a rule, these novels are not challenging but then, that's what is needed sometime...more
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104015
After studying English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, she served in the Women's Royal Naval Service during World War II.

The turning point for Pym came with a famous article in the Times Literary Supplement in which two prominent names, Lord David Cecil and Philip Larkin, nominated her as the most underrated writer of the century. Pym and Larkin had kept up a private correspondence over a period o...more
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“But surely liking the same things for dinner is one of the deepest and most lasting things you could possibly have in common with anyone,' argued Dr. Parnell. 'After all, the emotions of the heart are very transitory, or so I believe; I should think it makes one much happier to be well-fed than well-loved.” 2 likes
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