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Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym

Some Tame Gazelle (original 1950; edition 1983)

by Barbara Pym

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7693112,029 (3.95)1 / 158
Title:Some Tame Gazelle
Authors:Barbara Pym
Info:E. P. Dutton (1983), Hardcover, 252 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Boxed

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Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym (1950)


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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This was a pleasant easy read, a quiet novel about two spinster sisters, Belinda and Harriet, who live in a small English village. Their lives revolve around home, church and the other villagers. We see it all through Belinda's eyes and her thoughts provide much of the gentle humor in the book. She has quite the snarky thoughts but is far too polite to give voice to them, which is rather refreshing.

Written in 1950 this is Pym's first book and she's often been compared to Jane Austen.This type of book is a nice read for when you want to slow down and savor wry observations of life in a quieter, gentler time.

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
"His hand reached the knob simultaneously with hers. For one panic-stricken moment she even imagined that it lingered for a fraction of a second, but then dismissed the unworthy thought almost before it had time to register in her mind. She was in an agitated state, and she had read somewhere that in any case middle-aged spinsters were apt to imagine things of this kind…"

This is a character-driven book depicting the quiet lives of the inhabitants of a small English village in the 1930s, and is told both with melancholy and with biting humor. The book is delightful, following two middle-aged spinsters: the sisters Belinda and Harriet Bede, who live together. Belinda is timid and very sensible. She has been quietly in love with the married archdeacon of their church for nearly 30 years. Her sister Harriet is outgoing, bubbly, and a little ridiculous, delighting in welcoming any new curate with flirtatious ministrations. Their daily lives and interactions with friends and neighbors are lovingly recounted.

"When the day came for Agatha to go away, Belinda and Harriet watched her departure out of Belinda’s bedroom window. From here there was an excellent view of the vicarage drive and gate. Belinda had brought some brass with her to clean and in the intervals when she stopped her vigorous rubbing to look out the window, was careful to display the duster in her hand. Harriet stared out quite unashamedly, with nothing in her hand to excuse her presence there. She even had a pair of binoculars, which she was now trying to focus."

I loved it, and look forward to more Barbara Pym!
  AMQS | Mar 27, 2016 |
A delightful book about the inhabitants of a simple country village. A cross between E.F. Benson's "Lucia" books and Miss Read's village life, I quite enjoyed this lovely little volume and it's charming characters, centered around two spinster sisters who seem different at first but at heart are much the same. This was my first Barbara Pym and I'm looking forward to the next one! ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
This was Barbara Pym's first book, written during the 1930's in the period between the wars, although it wasn't published until 1950. It is a pretty good effort for a first book, and has many of the classic characteristics of a Barbara Pym book - spinsters with broken hearts, clergy, tea parties, and lots of biting humor. Harriet and Belinda are sisters who are independent and own their own home. Belinda pines for the archdeacon who was a classmate in college, but who also happens to be married. Harriet has had several offers of marriage, but prefers staying unattached and amuses herself by inviting the various curates for tea. The story is more character driven than plot driven, and boils down to a rather humorous tale. ( )
1 vote NanaCC | Aug 30, 2015 |
This seems archetypal Barbara Pym country: a small village somewhere in the south of England, middle-aged spinsters, archdeacons and curates, all very middle-class with not very much happening outside of the church bazaar and afternoon tea. Belinda and Harriet are the two spinsters in question here, both unmarried although certainly Harriet has had numerous offers, which still continue even though she is in her fifties, with her close friend Ricardo, a neighbour who just happens to be an Italian count, proposing on a regular basis. But Harriet enjoys her single life as long as she has a succession of curates to dote on, and as the vicar of the parish, Archdeacon Hoccleve, is notoriously lazy, he always has a curate in tow for her to admire. But it is her sister Belinda who is the real focus of this book: Belinda, who has adored Archdeacon Hoccleve since they were students together, when her hopes of marriage were dashed by the more dashing and determined Agatha, the current Mrs Hoccleve. But not even their closest friends would say it was a marriage made in heaven, and Agatha’s departure for Germany to ‘take the waters’ throws Belinda and the Archdeacon together rather more than they have been accustomed to …

This is a very gentle book, and while it pokes fun at the behaviour of its characters it isn’t done with malice. Even the Archdeacon, who must be hell to be married to, comes off relatively lightly. In my opinion it lacks the acerbic wit that [Excellent Women] has, and is a lesser book for that reason. The book was published in 1950 but written in the 1930’s and it shows: this is clearly the period between the wars when middle-class (but not wealthy ladies) still had live in servants and took tea religiously at 4pm every day. Quintessentially English I suppose, although when a book is described as that it is always a very specific Englishness that is meant, that excludes whole swathes of the countryside and the population. So a quiet and pleasant read, but certainly would not be my favourite of her novels. ( )
  SandDune | Dec 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Pymprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cheek, MavisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, JessieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tomlinson, PatienceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turle, BernardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zazo, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Some tame gazelle, or some gentle dove:
Something to love, oh, something to love!

Thomas Haynes Bailey
First words
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.
"Look", Harriet cried, for she had been so absorbed in her task of `strengthening' a pair of corsets with elastic thread that she had not noticed the Archdeacon creeping up the drive. ... she bundled the corsets under a cushion in one of the armchairs; Belinda noticed to her horror that they were imperfectly hidden and planted herself firmly in front of the chair.
She began to find ways of making things better and more bearable.
In future Belinda would continue to find such consolation as she needed in our greater English poets, when she was not gardening or making vests for the poor in Pimlico.
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Book description
Together yet alone, the Misses Bede occupy the central crossroads of parish life. Harriet, plump, elegant and jolly, likes nothing better than to make a fuss of new curates, secure in the knowledge that Count Ricardo Bianco will propose to her yet again this year. Belinda, meanwhile, has harboured sober feelings of devotion towards Archdeacon Hochleve for thirty years. Then into their quiet comfortable lives comes a famous librarian, Nathaniel Mold, and a bishop from Africa, Theodore Grote - who each takes to calling on the sisters for rather more unsettling reasons.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586053697, Paperback)

Front and back covers have some random creasing. Edge wear and a very small tear on bottom edge of spine. Front inside page has a "running man" stamp, no other marks and intact. Ships very quickly and packaged carefully!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:46 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Together yet alone, the Misses Bede occupy the central crossroads of parish life. Then, into their quiet, comfortable lives comes a famous librarian, Nathaniel Mold, and a bishop from Africa, Theodore Grote - who each take to calling on the sisters for rather unsettling reasons.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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