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Publisher's Summary

A tale of a woman's romantic entanglements with two anthropologists - and the odd mating habits of humans - from the author of Jane and Prudence.

Catherine Oliphant writes for women's magazines and lives comfortably with anthropologist Tom Mallow - although she's starting to wonder if they'll ever get married. Then Tom drops his bombshell: He's leaving her for a 19-year-old student.

Though stunned by Tom's betrayal, Catherine quickly becomes fascinated by another anthropologist, Alaric Lydgate, a reclusive eccentric recently returned from Africa. As Catherine starts to weigh her options, she must figure out who she is and what she really wants.

With a lively cast of characters and a witty look at the insular world of academia, this novel from the much-loved author of Excellent Women and other modern classics is filled with poignant, playful observations about the traits that separate us from our anthropological forebears - far fewer than we may imagine.

©1955 Barbara Pym (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Penny G.
  • 23-04-20

Terrible narrator for a wonderful book

I have been a fan of Barbara Pym for many years. I purchased the Pym book , Excellent Women from Audible and the narrator was perfect. I was so disappointed that this book didn’t have the same narrator.
Hopefully, Audible will offer more Barbara Pym books and that they will have excellent narrators.

11 people found this helpful

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  • FenwayFan23
  • 09-05-20

Agree Excellent Book Exerable Narrator

Love Barbara Pym and loved the recording and narrator of Excellent Women. This narrator uses a breathy over-dramatic voice that is annoying and out of sync with the material in places. Disappointed.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie
  • 27-04-20

So slow and boring

I only got half way through this book. The pace is so slow and has no energy.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GirlFromNantucket
  • 21-09-20

Narrator more suited to Barbara Cartland

It's jarring to hear Pym's grounded prose read in the style of a bodice-ripper. PLEASE replace this narrator. I would love to have the audios of her other books, but I can't listen to them read like this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Holly
  • 04-05-20

Incisive and fun insight and irony

Among my most favorite Barbara Pym's, this one reflects her insight and irony at its most incisive while still being fun. In combination with a superbly drawn view into the life of an anthropologist at a particular time and place, this one features Catherine. Catherine, with all her foibles, is a hugely compelling character, and is the perfect (though somewhat unlikely) writer of light articles for women's magazines. Alaric Lydgate and Esther Clovis win the best supporting character awards from me. That's saying quite a lot, as I have never found a supporting character in Pym lacking in any way. Highly recommended.

It is extremely well-narrated. I wasn't fond of Tom's voice, but somehow it fit his character very well, and all the other voices were just perfect.

Many thanks to Audible for making another Barbara Pym available in the States!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-20

Beautiful clever book slaughtered

Barbara Pym is an author who excels in a type of gentle English wit, it is an observation of the small idiosyncrasies of post war life. The narrator, who appears to have swallowed the Little Book of Calm, has decided to bypass any attempt to follow the punctuation, and therefore the book. It is read as a lilting poem, some of the pronunciation is remarkably weird, a welsh accent drifts in and out in the oddest of places, most of the time every fifth word drifts up and off into space. I’ve given up, and it’s going to take more than lavender oil for me to recover from this.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-08-20

Dull story, horrible narration

The one thing that made this utterly dull story worse was the narration. The narrator's choice to insert an upwards inflection at the end of every sentence was grating to the extreme.

1 person found this helpful