#CBR7 Review #61: An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym

If you haven’t guessed, I’ve been going through a Barbara Pym phase these days. It’s been a lot of fun to read novels that are seemingly of “another time” and yet have some delicious biting commentary on human nature that is still relevant today. Plus, Pym has an incisive wit reminiscent of Jane Austen’s. Her novels are highly readable and very engrossing.This novel certainly does not stray from this successful formula.

An Unsuitable Attachment follows a parish in urban London, where the poor Caribbean immigrants clash with the “established” middle and upper class white English who consider themselves “above” their neighborhoods. Sophia Ainger is married to Mark, the parish clergyman. Her sister Penelope is in her mid-twenties and still single. Ianthe Broom is a 35-year-old single woman living in the parish and working at the local library. When anthropologist Rupert Stonebird moves into the flat across from Ianthe’s, a flurry of matchmaking and sexual miscues ensue. Especially when John Challow, a handsome younger man, also makes a play for one of the women…

Call me old-fashioned or an old lady, I don’t care, I *live* for this kind of novel. I enjoy the matchmaking and tea parties and travels, and general gossip that these novels come with. Also, bonus: there is a cat. Her name is Faustina. It’s pretty awesome. If you are looking for a place to start with Barbara Pym, this is not a bad novel to begin with. While it’s not my favorite, it certainly captures the fun and delight that most of her novels are known for. On to the next one!


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