Quartet in Autumn; Barbara Pym
Plume - 1977
This is a book I had on my 2022 - 2023 Bucket list and, I am happy I had a chance to finally read it.
Quartet in Autumn is the story of (4) older coworkers approaching retirement age: Edwin, Norman, Marcia and Letty. Each is single, lives alone and except for work lives a mostly solitary life. When the (2) women retire, the story takes a darker turn. Instead of the leisurely days one tends to associate with not having to get up ealy and go to work each day. the reader gets a glimpse at how sad and lonely a life without plans, dreams, hobbies or friends can be.
I thought this story was very well written. Pym uses wry humor to which at times take away from what could have been a very depressing story.
Rating - 4/5 stars
Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendship; Nina Totenberg
Simon & Schuster Audio - 2022
Nina Totenberg had a long career as a prize winning reporter for the National Observer and NPR. Her professional career also led to a remarkable fifty year friendship with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
While I was expecting a book that would focus mostly on the author's friendship and professional relationship with RBG that is only a small part of the story. This book is a memoir about Nina T and it is fairly well written. but just not what I was expecting. I admired how these women fought for a voice for advancing equality for women over the years. There were some heavier, more personal insights as well: both women had to deal with the illness and subsequent deaths of their spouses. While this memoir was interesting enough, I expect that readers who were looking forward to a focus on RBG will be somewhat disappointed. The audio is read by the author.
RATING - 3/5 stars
I've only read one other review of Dinners with Ruth and that person loved the book. But, I am glad you warned us that it isn't all about RBG as that is what I would expect from the title.ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm in the minority about the memoir but, the title is misleading.Delete
I thought Quartet in Autumn was quite a sad book although I still remember liking it. I gather other books by her are a bit more light-hearted.ReplyDelete
It was sad but still quite good!Delete
I've read several of Barbara Pym's novels and have enjoyed them all, including Quartet in Autumn.ReplyDelete
I still have 1-2 or hers to read; I loved Excellent Women.Delete
Excellent Women is still my favorite, with Jane and Prudence a close second.Delete
I haven't read either, both authors are new to me.ReplyDelete
Pym is a very good author. Her book Excellent Women was one I really enjoyed.Delete
I haven't read Quartet in Autumn, though I have loved many others by Pym. It does sound sad, but I have often wondered if the sadness comes from having no life outside of work so when work is over, life is sort of over. There are still people, i believe, who live for their jobs.ReplyDelete
Nan, I agree with you that for some people - their job is their life. I always enjoyed free time so much more than work no matter how much I liked my job.Delete
Ywa, I'm actually in the monority about the memoir.ReplyDelete
I always respected and admired Nina Totenberg. Her features on NPR were cogent, informative, and to the point. It doesn't surprise me that she was great friends with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The world and our country are much poorer for having lost her.ReplyDelete
I was less familiar with Totenberg than RBG. I was one who rooted for RBG's recovery through her many surgeries and illnesses over the years. Such an inspiration.Delete
Two good books. Enjoyed your reviews.ReplyDelete
I have been wanting to read Barbara Pym and am so glad to see how much you enjoyed it! That's too bad about Dinners with Ruth. I would definitely have expected the focus to be on Ruth as well with that title.ReplyDelete
I highly recommend trying Pym, her writing is excellent.ReplyDelete
So the latter book is more about Nina T than their friendship or about RBG? Sounds like the marketing lead you astray. I'm curious about the book.ReplyDelete
Yes, more about author and friendships - not only her friendship with RBG.ReplyDelete