By Barbara Pym
Whilst Barbara Pym died in 1980 she left a large amount of unpublished fabric. This quantity includes an early novel, CIVIL TO STRANGERS, 3 novellas and an autobiographical essay, 'Finding a Voice', Pym's in simple terms written touch upon her writing profession. In CIVIL TO STRANGERS the lives of a tender couple, Cassandra Marsh-Gibbon and her self-absorbed author husband Adam, are thrown into upheaval while a mysterious Hungarian arrives of their village.
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Additional resources for Civil to Strangers (Virago Modern Classics)
I know. ’ Dexter raised his head and stared bleakly at the grimacing samurai. ‘When it came to it, I didn’t . ’ Joan shook his shoulder, irritated by him. ‘So what? Nobody does. ’ ‘I had the balls . ’ Dexter calmed her with his quirky smile. ‘What I didn’t have was hope, or trust. I was relying on myself. For me, those children were already dead. I should have remembered who I was trying to be. ’ I waited for Dexter to reflate himself, jaw flexing as it reengaged with his scarred face. ‘The travel agency you tried to attack.
The planet is full. ’ Her voice rose to a derisive hoot. ‘Gangs of coolies who mix the cement and lay the runways. ’ They’re the real victims. ’ I held my ribs, no longer thinking of whether I could walk as far as the King’s Road. Kay Churchill was launched into a well-rehearsed rant, counting off the chipped beads in her catechism of obsessions. According to Henry Kendall, the tape found in the Heathrow air vent had contained a similar tirade. I remembered the amateur video of Laura lying among the glass and suitcases, and listened to Kay addressing her real audience, the weary magistrates who would finally consign her to a cell in Holloway.
Laing and a familiar figure on CND marches, joining Bertrand Russell at anti-nuclear sit-ins and being glamorously dragged away by the police. Late-night discussion programmes on television were as much her natural home as the consulting room. As a child I watched her on my grandmother’s TV set, deeply impressed by the caftans, waist-length black hair and fiercely articulate passion. Free love and legalized drugs meant little to me, though I guessed they were in some way connected to the friendly but unfamiliar men who appeared on her weekend visits, and to the home-made cigarettes she taught me to roll for her and which she smoked despite the protests of my wearily tolerant grandmother.