You interest me strangely, Pym

The woefully-short radio series, ‘Fry’s English Delight’ comes to a close today by examining the letter X.  I shall be listening as I’m writing to you, so if anything I say doesn’t make sense, you’ll know why.

I have now finished the Barbara Pym novel I was reading: I thought I might lose interest in the characters, but oddly enough, I didn’t.  She reminds me of E F Benson, in that her books feature a set of characters I want nothing to do with, in a place in which I have no interest *doing things I find utterly tedious – and yet somehow, she manages to interest me.  The key feature of Pym’s novels are characters who almost never express their true thoughts because of social constraints, and because of this she has been compared to Jane Austen; in fact one reviewer stuck his neck out and said that Crampton Hodnet was ‘as good as anything Austen wrote’.  I wouldn’t go anything like that far, but I am nonetheless struck by Pym’s ability to retain my interest right to the end of the novel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crampton_Hodnet

It is a novel in which nothing really happens – things almost happen, people almost say things and then don’t; or they say things and nobody hears – or takes any notice – in fact it’s a novel almost like Dubliners in its theme of paralysis, except that the characters seem, by and large, happy in their paralysis.  So it’s a bit of a Giant’s Causeway of a novel – worth reading, but not worth buying to read.

Speaking of novels, it’s time to get mine out again and this time finish the damned thing and send it off somewhere.

Yesterday I sent off a short story, finished a couple of poems, bought some bedding plants (winter pansies) and waded into the sticky mass of notes and pen-drives that is the aforementioned novel.

Daniel has gone off to college – hopefully he will find his English class today.  Yesterday I mooned about for several hours – I still can’t get used to him not being at home.

Very Happy Thursday.

Kirk out

* note the balance there in ending/not ending with prepositions