The Sweet Dove Died

The Sweet Dove Died Between the amorous antique dealer Humphrey and his good looking nephew James glides the magnificent Leonora delicate as porcelain cool as ice Can she keep James in her thrall Or will he be taken fr

  • Title: The Sweet Dove Died
  • Author: Barbara Pym
  • ISBN: 9780060805111
  • Page: 433
  • Format: Mass Market
  • Between the amorous antique dealer Humphrey and his good looking nephew James glides the magnificent Leonora, delicate as porcelain, cool as ice Can she keep James in her thrall Or will he be taken from her by a lover, like Phoebe or Ned, the wicked American A highly distinctive and ultimately charitable novel Financial Times Faultless Guardian HerBetween the amorous antique dealer Humphrey and his good looking nephew James glides the magnificent Leonora, delicate as porcelain, cool as ice Can she keep James in her thrall Or will he be taken from her by a lover, like Phoebe or Ned, the wicked American A highly distinctive and ultimately charitable novel Financial Times Faultless Guardian Her Characters are all meticulously impaled on the delicate pins of a wit that is as scrupulous as it is deadly Observer A coldly funny book Sunday Telegraph Highly distinctive e critics who have recently insisted on Miss Pym s too long neglected gifts have not been wrong Financial Times.

    One thought on “The Sweet Dove Died”

    1. ”Life is cruel and we do terrible things to each other.”Humphrey, a widowed antiques dealer, and his nephew James, who he is attempting to teach about the antiques trade, meet this elegant, aging beauty named Leonora Eyre at a book sale. Meeting such a woman at such a place filled Humphrey with horror. ”A book sale was certainly no place for a woman; had it been a sale of pictures or porcelain, fetching the sort of inflated prices that made headline news, or an evening sale--perhaps being [...]

    2. A dazzling Mozartian chamber piece. The mood seems light, the mannercivilized but the upshot is a jolt: perfectly chiseled words express profound insight into human nature. An unmarried near-50 London lady attends an auction where she meets a widowed antique dealer and his ambiguous nephew. The gent falls for her, but she only has eyes for chappy. 'One needed the company of young people' The object of her hapless pash has an occasional girlfriend whose presence must be discouraged, then the odd [...]

    3. While sharply written, this Pym did not appeal to me as much as the only other I’ve read, Jane and Prudence. Its biting (and ultimately sad) cynicism was a bit more reminiscent of Muriel Spark than Jane Austen (whom Pym has been compared): that's not a complaint, as I enjoy both authors. Besides the Keats poem referenced in the title, Henry James’ Washington Square is also used as an overt allusion. The two polar-opposite rivals of the “elegant” (and very selfish) rival for the affection [...]

    4. The title is an allusion to a poem of Keats. What a skillfully written and wry novel this is. Pym has created a little world, populating it with distinctive characters, each of whom is at the same time endearing and appalling, and then set them loose to carom off each other in unpredictable ways, sometimes portraying them with an arch degree of sympathy, only to mercilessly skewer them a few pages later. The result is a pastiche of period piece with elements entirely contemporary, Pym herself so [...]

    5. "Eu tinha uma pomba e a doce pomba morreu; E pensava eu que morrera de mágoa; Oh, que podia magoá-la? As suas patas presas Por um fio de seda que eu próprio teci"John KeatsEste poema é o melhor do livroJames tem 25 anos; duas namoradas e um namorado. Uma das namoradas tem cerca de 20 anos a outra mais de 50. Enfim, nada de especialA premissa é muito interessante mas o seu desenvolvimento nem por isso

    6. After reading this, I thought it would be a great to start an all-female punk rock band, and name the band Pym. Alas, I don't play guitar. Or drums. Or sing. And this book has nothing to do with punk rock. I have odd ideas at times.

    7. Me ha encantado!! Ahora entiendo la fascinación que despierta esta autora últimamente, y es que tiene una forma de escribir tan sencilla y alegre y al mismo tiempo tan irónica, que me ha conquistado desde las primeras páginas.

    8. “I had a dove, and the sweet dove died;And I have thought it died of grieving;O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tiedWith a single thread of my own hand’s weaving ”(John Keats)The Sweet Dove Died does feel quite different to other Pym novels I think; there are I felt, touches of Elizabeth Taylor at times. There is less cosiness and rather more sharpness to this novel -and although there is mention of a jumble sale there are not the usual collection of either clergymen or anthropolo [...]

    9. What hateful snobs abound in this book. Leonora, for whom everything has to be perfection, Humphrey who looks down on Miss Caton, Ned, who looks down on his lovers, James, who looks down on Phoebe and so on It's a social heirachy of horrid snobs. Not one likeable character in the book apart from, say, Phoebe, who seems to be the most normal of them all.Leonora, so wrapped up in her own beauty, elegance and grace that she hadn't noticed that she'd been left on the shelf until it was too late. She [...]

    10. I felt as though I should like this more than I did. The characters are especially perceptively drawn, but I just didn't sympathize with any of them and so didn't care a lot what happened to themA 8/24/2017: On second reading, I felt a little more sympathy for Leonora, but my essential feeling on first reading remains the same. I do admire the excellent characterization, but there's no emotional hook for me (vs for instance, _Quartet in Autumn_, with equally fine characterization but more likeab [...]

    11. I have long been a fan of Barbara Pym's superficially gentle (but actually quite robust) novels of English life in the post-Second World War years. Her body of work is not large - Pym wrote fewer than fifteen novels - and is noteworthy for its delicate, amusing and restrained examination of the life of a certain type of middle-class person who is searching for love. The world of the Anglo-Catholic church and its somewhat dreary social life of the time, of curates, of minor intellectuals and of u [...]

    12. In the last week I've gone from:‘I haven’t seen Jack in damn near six months. We don’t hang out together or nothing. I don’t know where that nigger at, man!’Willis McDaniel swung his left forearm out hard at Morgan Jackson’s head.The blow caught him solid on the side of the face‘Don’t try to shit me,’ McDaniel said. ‘You know you gettin’ dope from your brother, boy. Don’t lie to me, junkie.’To:Humphrey and Leonora had been lunching together and now, as it was a fine aft [...]

    13. This late Pym is absolutely marvellous. The tale of languid Leonora, James and Humphrey. This Pym is set in London with a few naughty sorties to the countryside. As always with Pym the detail is delicious. Leonora has dresses the colour of prune and amethyst. She prepares scratch suppers with new asparagus and omelette washed down with Creme de Menthe. All the men bring her flowers. But underneath this frothy soufflé is the bitter taste of rejection. Lovers are cruel and chances not taken quick [...]

    14. In the last chapter of this novel, Pym writes 'but in the end parting had come with the inevitability of the last scene of a well-constructed play'. Replace 'play' with 'novel', and you have my initial response to this late book by Pym who's a novelist a friend put me onto a couple of years ago.I think the thing I most respected in this tale of unfulfilled urbanite lives was the ending. Apart from Ned going back to America, no other ends are tied up. No wonder Larkin liked Pym: this novel ends w [...]

    15. Desert Island discs has an interesting interview with Pym. She discusses her early books, her fall from grace, her new books. Perhaps this is why "The Sweet Dove Died" has a different tone to her earlier ones, she'd been through the mill and decided she had nothing to lose. The war had ended, the pretty clothes and parties were over, the genteel woman who could afford not to work was a thing of the past. Certainly Pym had never been a genteel lady, choosing to work full-time and then write at ni [...]

    16. Only three years before her death by cancer at age sixty-six Barbara Pym was rediscovered and achieved international fame. The loci of the rediscovery was a survey of famous British writers in the January 21, 1977 edition of the Times Literary Supplement, in which two of the famous writers asked to nominate the most underrated book of the previous seventy-five years picked novels by Pym. Philip Larkin, one of the surveyed writers, put Pym in Jane Austen’s league for her ability to keep her rea [...]

    17. Books by Pym are always concerned with the inner lives and details of people living quiet, retiring lives in England . As always, there are frustrated love-affairs, slightly uncomfortable dinner parties, and carefully examined friendships. Thirty years passed between Pym’s first novel and this one, and the time has clearly made an impression. Most obviously, there is a sizable queer presence in these books. Moreover, the parties and thoughts of the young people described are finally approachin [...]

    18. As with other Barbara Pym novels, this novel is both charming and clever. Leonora is a wondeful creation, although she is actually quite horrible in her determination to keep James near. In fact Leonora's personality is such, that throughout the novel she dominates - the three men, Humphrey, James and Ned, are small and pale by comparrison. Barbara Pym writes about a world that almost certainly doesn't exist anymore, and of a certain class, which does, although not in the same way somehow. The t [...]

    19. Shallow, bigoted, manipulative, self-centered - all words that could describe the 50-something Leonora. But yet through Pym's understated character development, you also see her as lonely and vulnerable, a product of her times and social class.Leonora meets Humphrey and James at an antique auction. Humphrey immediately falls for her, but it is Humphrey's much younger nephew James that Leonara is interested in. And she will do whatever she can to hold on to him."I had a dove, and the sweet dove d [...]

    20. This is one of the more poignant Pym novels that is just as good as her others but tinged with a melancholy. I find her portrayal of Leonora fascinating and these spinster women attaching themselves to gay men and playing second fiddle to their love affairs makes for great reading. Leonora is one of the few Pym characters that I do not like. Her very regimented, pampered lifestyle coupled with her selfish personality really got to me. The dismissing of her elderly tenant to make room for James w [...]

    21. I enjoyed this very much. It was quick and the characters were sharply depicted in just so scenes that had the right amount of details to make you feel and experience this world. The main female character is unlikeable and yet so very complex and puzzling I couldn't help but be attracted to her despite everything. There's also a very non-judgemental description of a same-sex relationship that was very unexpected and very well done. Pym is very good at conjuring up seemingly common situations and [...]

    22. Title is from a poem by Keats:I had a dove, and the sweet dove diedAnd I have thought it died of grieving;O what could it grieve for? Its feet were tiedWith a silken thread of my own hand’s weaving:Sweet little red feet! why would you die?Why would you leave me, sweet bird, why?You liv’d alone on the forest tree,Why, pretty thing, could you not live with me?I kiss’d you oft, and gave you white pease;Why not live sweetly as in the green trees?

    23. I suspect this book was the inspiration for the song "Love Stinks" by the J. Geils Band. Despite the gloomy outlook on romance, this novel is somehow lighthearted and irreverent. Barbara Pym, gurl, if I had a time machine, I'd surely go back in time and have a glorious tea with you. After I killed Hitler, of course.

    24. I reread this book a few years back but did not recod it on . Probably because I first read it way back before then and was not recording anything but new reads. So thus may have been my fourth read and one I undertook in preparation for the Barbara Pym conference this coming March 2018. I know a little of the history of this book and read more about it. Yes, Leonora Eyre is not a Pym excellent woman or a doer of good deeds. She is a middle-aged calculating narcisstic diminishing beauty who requ [...]

    25. I started this expecting the usual quiet but perceptive Pym scrutiny of genteel life in an English village. But this time she delivers something quite different. There are no vicars or curates and all the main characters are self obsessed and mildly obnoxious. It is impossible to like any of them, and for me that initially was a problem. Once I realised that none of them were going to be redeemed though I settled down to thoroughly enjoy this story of the way people try to manipulate others to s [...]

    26. I have read almost all of Pym's novels and this one did not disappoint. I bought an old secondhand copy published in the 80s. It's a shame this book does not seem to be in print currently, along with several others that have been reissued/repackaged. Last year I read my way through many other Pym novels (regrettably I did not keep track here, but I can add them at a later date as time allows). This novel is just as entertaining, wry and sharply written as one might expect. I was reminded of Anit [...]

    27. Read in a few hours, another wonderful novel of the subtlety of relationships and motivations by Pym. A middle-aged woman befriends a man of about her age and his nephew, preferring the attentions of the nephew, who lavishes her with attention until he first meets a girl his own age and then a boy of about his own age. Rivalry, envy, jealousy, narcissism (mirrors abound), selfishness, greed, fear of aging and appearing vulnerable, and other interesting emotions and behaviours fuel the superficia [...]

    28. Oh no, what happened to my lovely Barbara Pym novels?! There wasn't a vicar or jumble sale or flower show in sight in this novel. It was more like reading an art house movie from the 1970s. Oh sure, the dialogue is clever and sharp and the settings perfect in their details. However, the characters are unpleasant and the plot grey and depressing. I think I would have loved this book in my twenties. At 50, it was all just so disheartening and draining. Not what I want at all at this juncture of my [...]

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