Recently I re-read Barbara Pym’s novel A Glass of Blessings for about the third time. All of her novels can be read again and again for the pleasure of her prose and the precision and humor of her observations–and, of course, their delicious Englishness. I’m sure I’ll be reading them all my life; I find them cheering in good times and comforting in bad. I feel at home in her milieu of Anglican clergymen and middle-aged excellent women.
One of my favorite Pym lines occurs in A Glass of Blessings, spoken by Father Ransome at a church gathering in the parish hall: “Life has to go on, and I suppose a cup of tea does make it seem to be doing so more than anything else.”