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No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym

No Fond Return of Love (1961)

by Barbara Pym

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5781917,114 (4)1 / 175

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English (18)  Spanish (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Dulcie and Viola meet at a weekend conference for people involved in the peripheral aspects of writing, such as researching and indexing an author's work. Neither really likes the other but circumstances throw them together, and then they find that they share an interest in stalking a mutual acquaintance, good-looking author Aylwin Forbes.

Pym's novels are hard to put a label to; they have comical aspects and funny characters, but they have some sadness. They aren't romance novels, but the ones I've read so far feature lonely women trying to find someone. I really liked noticing about halfway through the book that, though Viola sulks around most people to the point that her own parents don't enjoy her company, she perks right up when an eligible man is around. ( )
  mstrust | Jan 3, 2014 |
Another stellar book by Barbara Pym. Is this her answer to Mansfield Park?
Very amusing. ( )
  PatsyMurray | Dec 13, 2013 |
I didn't enjoy this book as much as others of Pym's. I found it almost too weird and far fetched. Not that one wants to take Pym's books seriously; one delights in their nonsense. Only this was a bit too much really. I liked the minor characters more than the major characters so maybe that had something to do with it. It does have one of the best opening lines in a novel though, I must say. ( )
  alexdaw | Jul 15, 2013 |
Barbara Pym does a good job of presenting ordinary folk with all their oddities so that they and their ordinary lives are interesting, even fun. No Fond Return of Love is no exception ( )
  snash | Jul 7, 2013 |
I’ve grown used to the inclusion of fine details and minutiae, the seemingly unimportant detritus that turns out to be very important in Barbara Pym’s world, this being my fifth Barbara Pym book. They just add to the pleasure of being among the indexers, excellent women, clergy and available men who always turn up. Jumble sales, bed-sits, you know, a world where ”life’s problems are often eased by hot milky drinks.” And I will continue to lap up all that she wrote with great pleasure.

Dulcie Mainwaring is a young woman getting over a romantic break-up when she meets fellow researcher Viola Dace at a summer conference where one of the presenters keels over at the podium. That presenter, Aylwin Forbes, is a former love interest of Viola’s and as Dulcie gets to know him, she finds him more and more charming and alluring. She also becomes somewhat obsessed with researching the details of his life and while she stops short of stalking, she does go to great lengths to discover the details of his background and family history.

I’ve come to expect Pym to bring back characters from previous novels and she doesn’t disappoint this time around but I had one of those “OMG moments” when Wilmet, Piers and Keith make an appearance, having been last seen in A Glass of Blessings. But my copy of the book got a good spray of coffee as I snorted through Viola’s description of the characters as being “like characters in a novel.” Oh Ms. Pym, you make me laugh.

I am so happy to have found this author, who makes me laugh while at the same time showing shrewd understanding of the human heart. Her prose is honed to perfection and in the end, when the investigative schemes are untangled we find that love is returned after all. ( )
14 vote brenzi | Jun 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Barbara Pym is an idiosyncratic writer and those who are already addicts (and I choose the word deliberately) need only to be told that No fond return of love is the mixture as before, as sweet and sour as ever.
The publisher's blurb quotes a phrase which is used more than once in the book. Indexers and
bibliographers are referred to as those who work on the'dustier fringes of the academic world'. This is typical of the way Barbara Pym gently denigrates and pokes fun at all her characters, most of whom have middleclass or clerical backgrounds. Catty she may be but her
claws are sheathed and one can feel affection behind the irony.
Her style of writing is wry and muted and she is
admittedly an acquired taste. For 14 years she was largely neglected; many people thought she was dead. Between 1950 and 1961 she had written six ironic, witty novels, but, though well reviewed, they were never widely read.
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Cecilia Gordon (Aug 5, 1980)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Pymprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Binding, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, JessieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Hazel Holt
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There are various ways of mending a broken heart, but perhaps going to a learned conference is one of the more unusual.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Dulcie Mainwaring is always helping others, but never looks out for herself - especially in the realm of love. Her friend Viola is besotted with the alluring Dr Aylwin Forbes, so surely it isn't prying if Dulcie helps things along? Aylwin, however, is smitten with Dulcie's pretty young neice. And perhaps Dulcie herself, however ridiculous it might be, is falling, just a little, for Aylwin. Once life's little humiliations are played out, maybe love will be returned, and fondly, after all...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 155921306X, Paperback)

Dulcie Mainwaring, the heroine of the book, is one of those "excellent women" who is always helping others and never looking out for herself- especially in the realms of love. The novel has a delicate tangle of schemes and unfulfilled dreams, hidden secrets and a castle or two. Told wonderfully in the deadpan honesty that has become a Pym hallmark, this book is a delight.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Dulcie Mainwaring, the heroine of the book, is one of those "excellent women" who is always helping others and never looking out for herself--especially in the realms of love. The novel has a delicate tangle of schemes and unfulfilled dreams, hidden secrets and a castle or two."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Legacy Library: Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Barbara Pym's legacy profile.

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