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The British/Welsh Books Council chooses Felicity & Barbara Pym
Cover of Felicity and Barbara Pym

Advance Praise for Felicity and Barbara Pym

 

 

1. "A splendid book! Original, controversial, academic, readable, serious, light-hearted, sensible, charming..." - Hazel Holt, Literary Executor of the Barbara Pym Estate, author of the Barbara Pym biography, A Lot to Ask: A Life of Barbara Pym and editor (with Hilary Pym) of Barbara Pym’s unpublished work, Civil to Strangers and Other Writings; leading crime novelist, best known for her 20 “Mrs Malory” books and her recent epistolary novel, My Dear Charlotte, based on Jane Austen’s letters. [Hazel Holt has written the foreword to the book from which this extract is taken.]

2. "It should be mandatory reading for all undergraduate students of English Literature; no American students of English Literature should be allowed to set foot upon campus without having proved that they have read it..." - Peter Miles, Emeritus Fellow of the English Association.

3. "Dryden, a great writer as well as a great critic, created a work of art about works of art. Harrison Solow, in her incisive and delightful study of the novels of Barbara Pym has accomplished a similar feat." - Mayo Simon, New York playwright, writer of Academy Award winning film, Why Man Creates, lecturer in drama and film writing at Columbia University and California Institute of the Arts, author of The Audience & The Playwright, Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2005.

4. “A terrific piece of writing - I would order it for all first year and second year English students.” - Dr. Thomas Strychacz, Full Professor, Former Dean of Letters, Chair, English Department, Mills College, Former Lecturer at Princeton University, Author of Modernism, Mass Culture, and Professionalism, Cambridge University Press, 1993.

 5. " These ruminations offer unexpected insights that would escape a more mundane critic... a dazzling performance and it fills me with the most exquisite professional envy!" - Thomas Vinciguerra, Deputy Editor of The Week, New York; Contributing Writer, The New York Times.

6. "... a dramatic monologue which reveals how a life spent reading and thinking about literature has directed consciousness and informed the content of the thinking mind...A fascinating, intriguing presentation, which demands a sequel." - Christopher Terry, PhD, Examiner for Cambridge University, Scholar at Downing College Cambridge, reviewer for the Times Higher Education Supplement, author of The Ogre of Downing Castle, Revisited: Recollections of Dr F. R. Leavis and Morris Shapira, Libertas Publishing, 2009.

7. "Harrison Solow seamlessly weaves form and content to create an engrossing hybrid work: epistolary novel cum memoir cum literary critique cum advice column...Masterfully done." - Heather Hughes, Assistant Editor, Harvard University Press.

Comments
7 Comment count
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Harrison, I confess to

Harrison, I confess to ignorance on the subject of your book, but I like what the critics say. I like the idea of an academic exercise being alive to real sounds and not marinating in the mustiness of librarian smells. I like the discovery of old works in a new light.

And, I am just happy for you, if it means anything.

~F

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It means something.

Truly. How often are people really happy for one?

As for being ignorant of the subject, you are probably one of the least ignorant about this particular subject. Barbara Pym is a 20th Century novelist and I discuss her work in the book. But the book isn't really about Barbara Pym at all. Perhaps the most concise summary of this book is the one I recently gave to my elder son when asked me what the book was about:

"It's about writing. About reading. It's about becoming educated, about not assuming things aren't happening just because you don't see them happening, about not ever believing that language is a true vehicle for communication - and it's about knowing that sometimes, in order to get a true education, you have to turn to your butcher."

Which is why you know quite a bit about it already.

~ H

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Your New Book

"It's about writing. About reading...about knowing that sometimes, in order to get a true education, you have to turn to your butcher." Yes, and yes.

"...this book is a work of literary appreciation via reasonable examination based on the premise that all subjects are interrelated."

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Your New Book

"It's about writing. About reading...about knowing that sometimes, in order to get a true education, you have to turn to your butcher." Yes, and yes.

"...this book is a work of literary appreciation via reasonable examination based on the premise that all subjects are interrelated." Indeed, they are.

Well, I've read enough to know that I wish to read your new  book.  And I also congratulate you on having conceived, written and gotten it published.  Never as easy as others may think.

Wales and England have fascinated me ever since I read the historical novels of Sharon Kay Penman about the last Plantagenets and the Welsh struggle  to remain free of that dynasty's long reach.  How lovely to be writing in the Welsh environment!

Absenting myself from the confinements of home may be the best way to complete a writing commitment, I'm realizing.  Clearing space for my current project at home, both literally and figuratively, involved trimming my personal library from 5,000 to 2,500 volumes and letting go of the many activities which seem designed to keep me from writing.  My first collection of short fiction, and I am both excited and nervous.  Now, to find a publisher.

Attending my first writing conference in Denver next month -- AWP.  This will be an exciting year.

Comment Bubble Tip

Thank you, Jeanne!

But I'm puzzled. Where did you find the second quote from the introduction to the book? It isn't published yet! Thanks very much for your support. And while "butcher" is literal for me - I had an extraordinarily deep-thinking butcher in Wales, it is figurative for readers - it stands for "non-academics." I really detest the view that academics are somehow endowed with more intelligence than others. Some people, probably the wisest among us, choose not to go to university. (Sorry for the rant!) Very appreciative of your comments!
~H

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Oops!

I hit the wrong key by mistake before I finished my original comment.

How did I find the second quote? After reading your blog comment, I searched for the title on Google, and was directed to your Redroom site and the press release.

J

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Oh, right!

It *is* in the press release! I forgot. Well, thank you - that is the crux of the book. You've finished a book of fiction - Congratulations! Yes, Wales is lovely and mysterious beyond description - and I did a lot of writing there, but I am actually in America at present. I agree with you - a commitment to writing means a number of small acts that eventuate into pages. I'd love to be going to AWP this year, but too many other obligations prevent it. I wish you success and thank you for your valuable response. ~Harrison