Saturday, February 16, 2008

Crampton Hodnet

by Barbara Pym

Rating: 4.5/5
Grade: C - 14 and up

From the dust jacket: "Crampton Hodnet is a consummate farce - constructed, in recognizably "Pym" fashion, around a pair of unsuitable attachments. The first involves a young curate and Niss Morrow, who are both residents at Miss Doggett's home, Leamington Lodge. Their attempt to provide a plausibly innocent accont of a late afternoon excursion into the woods outside Oxford gives rise to the fanciful creation of a nonexistent vicar and village - the Crampton Hodnet of the title. The second romance is that between a starry-eyed professor and his female student, who is continually falling into traps of her own devising."

This was my first introduction to Barbara Pym. I had decided that I should read some of her books when I found out that she was said to be "the most underrated writer of the century". I was not dissapointed, I found her writing to be very witty, intelligent, and just all around hilarous. I found myself running to the drawer for a highlighter while reading the first chapter. Unfortunately I got so wrapped up in the story that I forgot to highlight many great little bits I would have liked to be able to find again. Definitely will be in my reread pile. A quote from the book: "Margaret Cleveland, who had at one time helped and encouraged her husband with his work, had now left him to do it alone, because she feared that with her help it might easily be finished before one of them died, and then where would they be?" This novel was published posthumously, and now having read two more of her books, I find this one to be a little bit more cohesive and flowing than the others, maybe because of a more modern editor.


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