Barbara Pym

Barbara Pym was an English novelist known for her social comedies, which often observe the lives and loves of middle-class British women. Born on June 2, 1913, in Oswestry, Shropshire, England, she published her first novel 'Some Tame Gazelle' in 1950. Pym's work is celebrated for its wit, clear prose, and insightful depiction of the human condition. Her novels experienced a resurgence in popularity in the late 1970s after being championed by poet Philip Larkin. She continued to write up until her death on January 11, 1980.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Excellent Women

    Set in post-World War II England, the novel centers around a spinster named Mildred Lathbury, who lives a quiet life, devoted to her church and helping others. Her life is disrupted when a young couple moves into her building and she becomes embroiled in their marital troubles. The novel explores themes of societal expectations for women, the role of religion in everyday life, and the complexities of human relationships.

  2. 2. Quartet in Autumn

    The novel explores the lives of four aging office workers in London, who are nearing retirement and dealing with the loneliness and isolation that often comes with old age. The story delves into their personal lives, their pasts, their relationships with each other and how they face the prospect of their futures. It is a poignant commentary on aging, loneliness, friendship, and the human condition.

  3. 3. Less Than Angels

    Less Than Angels follows the lives of a group of anthropologists living in London and their romantic entanglements. The story primarily centers around Tom Mallow, a mature student, who is in a relationship with Catherine Oliphant, a writer on anthropology. However, things become complicated when Tom becomes interested in a young student, Deirdre Swan. The novel explores themes of academia, love, and the complexities of human relationships.