Alexander Inglis's Reviews > A Glass of Blessings

A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym
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May 29, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: gay-positive, literary-fiction, favorites
Read in January, 2011

Here was a totally unexpected -- and unexpectedly delightful -- read. Barbara Pym was hailed twice by the Times Literary Supplement as "the most underrated novelist of the century" -- that was 1977; she died three years later in 1980 at the age of 67 having published just 7 novels in her lifetime of which A Glass of Blessings was her fifth.

Set in 1950s London, this witty novel is told through the narration of the shallow and self-absorbed protagonist Wilmet Forsyth who, despite her flaws, begins to learn something about love and about herself. The characters are explored in everyday activities, many involving the church (no less than three priests are central to the evolving events), and the others part of Wilmet's family (including her mother-in-law who owns and rules their home) and friends. When by chance, she re-connects with a childhood friend, Piers Longridge, and imagines he is a secret admirer, her heart re-awakens after years of colourless genteel contentment.

For social historians, there are endless observations, not least the very sympathetic portrayal of one matter-of-factly homosexual couple, and the richly embedded role of the church in daily lives as a social, rather than religious, institutiton.

Since her death, Pym has been recognised by countless scholarly revisitations, including an official Barbara Pym Society.

A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym. Published in 1958; currently out of print although available in a Darknet Digital Edition.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Bruce I was relieved to see your five star rating of the Barbara Pym. I was afraid I was the only male in the world who reads Pym.


message 2: by Roland (new)

Roland van Til I love Barbara Pym, The Sweet Dove Died must be my favourite


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