Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym

About the book

The story of four people in late middle-age who work in the same office and who all suffer from loneliness. With poignant humour, Barbara Pym takes us through their small lives and the facades they erect to defend themselves against the outside world.

Reviewed by Itchen Reading Group

The book is about four office workers approaching retirement and how they cope when two of them actuallt leave; the characters are very well drawn – a little “odd”. Well worth reading – a tragi-comedy.

*** – ****  3 to 4 stars

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5 thoughts on “Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym”

  1. Review by Hedge End WI
    A sad and depressing book but still a very good read. Characters completely believable. could relate first or second hand to these people. Two of the nine members disliked the book.
    **** 4 stars


  2. Review by Wednesday Reading Group
    We liked the acute observations of the “ordinary and everyday”. It was great but had a depressing side but its human side too. Some of us wanted to give them all a shake and a few tips on how to brighten up thier lives. Provoked lots of reminiscences of the 1960s and 70s.
    ***/**** 3 to 4 stars


  3. Review by Boaters book Club
    The characters and the office environment were thought disturbing but realistic and reflected the book’s era well. However, generally the book was found depressing, grim, dark, boring, unevetful and without a plot. We did see it as a lesson in life.
    * 1 star


  4. Review by Gosport Bookworms
    Most of us enjoyed this subtle, poetic and worthy novel. Pym has echoes of Muriel Spark and Jane Austen. Two younger members of the group felt it wasn’t for them but we all agreed it was beautifully written.
    ** 2 stars


  5. Review by Enjoying Books
    Beautifully observed – excellent characters- sad little lives but hugely entertaining. Some thought it dated, but we all appreciated her portrayal of ordinary people.
    ***+ 3+ stars


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