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Some Tame Gazelle: A Novel by Barbara Pym

Some Tame Gazelle: A Novel (original 1950; edition 2013)

by Barbara Pym

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6792714,070 (3.97)1 / 136
Title:Some Tame Gazelle: A Novel
Authors:Barbara Pym
Info:Open Road (2013), Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle, My room, Favorites, Comfort reading
Tags:1950s, BP1, middlebrow, Kindle, literary fiction, my room

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Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym (1950)


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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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 |
Delightful. A light read that is nonetheless very deep. Quietly, it makes one marvel. ( )
  Laura400 | Jan 6, 2014 |
One of her most amusing books, I enjoyed this even more having read A Very Private Eye because she based some of the characters on individuals she knew at Oxford. ( )
  PatsyMurray | Nov 28, 2013 |
A book in the glorious British tradition of gentle village comedy inhabited by the full range of spinsters, clergymen and a melancholic, romantic count. ( )
  veracite | Apr 5, 2013 |
This isn't my favorite of Barbara Pym's books, but it still gave me a lot to think about. (Possible spoilers, but this isn't a suspense novel!) Two spinster sisters live in an English village. My memory of most of Pym's books is that the protagonists tend to be Anglo-Catholic, but these sisters are firmly low church. Belinda nurses a long, unrequited love for their vicar, an Archdeacon, whom she has known since student days. (He is married to another.) Harriet expends a great deal of emotional and practical energy on whoever happens to be the curate in residence. A few things happen during the course of the novel. Belinda comes to realize that everyone needs someone or something to love. This was the first of Pym's novels. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Pymprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheek, MavisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, JessieCover artistsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:11 -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

Legacy Library: Barbara Pym

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