“This was a 'new to me' author, though she did most of her writing in the 50s and 70s. Her writing reminded me of Anne Tyler with British wit. This book introduces us to four coworkers, all nearing retirement and worried about what life will bring them then. Each of the four has his quirks and...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“I found it totally boring and uninteresting from beginning to the end.”see full review » see other reviews »
“I found it totally boring and uninteresting from beginning to the end.”Cami wrote this review 7 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was a 'new to me' author, though she did most of her writing in the 50s and 70s. Her writing reminded me of Anne Tyler with British wit. This book introduces us to four coworkers, all nearing retirement and worried about what life will bring them then. Each of the four has his quirks and foibles and they often made me laugh out loud at their insistence on sticking to ages-old ideas (something I struggle with as well). I enjoyed Letty and Edwin, but liked Marcia and Norman less (as I was supposed to). It's obvious that, of the group, Letty will do the best in accepting the changes that come with her retirement and ageing. I look forward to reading more by this author. ”Maggie S wrote this review Sunday, July 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The story of the lives of four people who work together in an office and the impact of the retirement of two of them. I don't normally like books about sad, little lives but this one contained tone of hope. Pym's portrayal of their lonely lives is done with sensitivity and I found myself liking this book very much. ”Jerseygirl / Dame Constance (Oodles) Oxford-Whapdoodle, D.C., B.C., D.C.A. wrote this review Friday, January 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Quiet. Empathetic. Subtle. Keenly observed. Heartfelt. Genuine. What a terrific small gem of a book.”Sam [also known as Harry] wrote this review Friday, January 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Quartet in Autumn
I adore Barbara Pym. She is like a late life love – I read Less than Angles first, then a Few Green Leaves, three more after that – I’ve read Some Tame Gazelle and Quartet in Autumn back to back.
While reading, I thought to myself that perhaps this not the novel for me in my present state of mind. Suffice it to say, the last few months have been – well trying. So to read of four individuals who work in the same office for years, retire from the same office in about the same time frame and do not know each other until the end of the novel – well…it was a depressing read.
Now, I get it. How do we really know each other – right? We are impersonal and insecure and frightened of rejection. And the characters were on a first name basis – knew each other’s address, there was a sort of camaraderie in the office but they took their lunches alone, they lived separately; no dinners out, no card games, no movies – nothing.
And they were all single – widowed or never married.
Farfetched – yes I know but Pym makes the whole scenario believable – which is even more depressing. If I could have read this novel with a sense of incredulity, and mark this one as Pym’s “laid egg,” well okay – and I may yet, I’m not through all of her works – but with her simply and complicated style, she makes the story line work. I was drawn in. I was bleeding down the side walk while Norman was on the very street Marcia lived on – in front of her house – even saw her and walked by allowing an ineffectual social worker to put on his humanity and fail.
With the usual Pym finesse the ending comes about with a sublime, even contented quartet. Not without heart ache, not even with a sort of moral to the story I’m afraid.
I’m too much of a fan of Ms Pym’s work not to see the beauty and the merit in her use of language and her ability to spin a quiet, “wood fire,” tale – something to relax by, contemplate – but I won’t read this novel again – alone. Traveling with a friend to the shores of one of the brilliant Great Lakes, in bed with a lover, quiet and cozy and reaching over and feeling his heart beat while the four characters in this book ignore each other – that’s the only way I’ll survive a second read, I’m sure.
“Four sad people and their sad lives. It's on my bookclub's list so I read it.”Shelley S wrote this review Tuesday, April 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Heather G said: 2 stars
This story was unique because one does not usually read about the older generations as Lettie discovered in the lack of books at her local library, other than romanticized or idealized grandparents. In our society we do not value the wisdom of older generations and view them as useless. This book however made me afraid to end up old and alone.”
“Flawless.”ryfinskibooknut wrote this review Saturday, April 30, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“low pay office workers that are no longer retire with little imagination, adventure or search for more - today they are replaced with computers that organize and keep track of business - the author wrote an attempt at modernity with the typical characters a fragmentation of community including some isolation and dis-empowerment ”Barbara S wrote this review Sunday, November 21, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No