Some Tame Gazelle

Barbara Pym


This book isn’t for everyone. No car chases, shootouts, kidnappings, or loud bangs. In fact, some people may wonder if anything is going to happen. In its quiet way, quite a lot happens to its main characters, Belinda and Harriet Bede, sisters living together. Both are afraid that the other one will get married and upset the balance of their quiet lives. What drama there is lies inside their heads as they observe the actions of the other.

I loved the book, but then I’ve lived in the environment she describes, one with the focus on church activities and the doings of clergy. There is plenty of drama there, but it is not showy and not on the surface.

Although the author was only 18 when she wrote the novel, she exhibits an extraordinary level of observation and understanding of single women ‘of a certain age.’ Harriet and Belinda are delightful.


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