Thursday, February 11

Book Review: Quartet in Autumn

Title: Quartet in Autumn

Author: Barbara Pym

Pages: 218

Summary: Quartet in Autumn is one of the books Pym wrote during the 15 years when no one would publish her, and perhaps the same kind of balance between hopelessness and inner strength helped shape this novel's story about four friends in an office nearing the age of retirement. They are people who have lived unspectacularly, but who have conjured a sense of themselves from the quartet's unity. Things start to change when two of them retire. Pym maps this ordinary strangeness of life with her particular genius for brilliant psychological insight and quiet humor that never strains for effect.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I didn’t dislike the book, but I didn’t like it either, and it wasn’t because the writing was bad, or the book was boring, nor was it the characters. It was mostly because all the characters were seniors, in their mid to late sixties, so I couldn’t connect to them. They were at a completely different place in life, with experiences, wisdom (or complaints, depending on how you look at it), that I just don’t have. Although I’m not entirely sure that the reason I didn’t connect to the book, was because its target audience was likely not meant for me but for those at retirement age, I think it was a big issue as to why I didn’t enjoy/connect to the story or the characters.

The characters themselves were very well written, the story its self was also well done, I just couldn’t relate to it at all. There were a few funny parts in it, and there were times the four people in the book, when they complained about certain things in their community, that it reminded me of my great aunts and uncles who are the same ages as the characters in the book. But it just didn’t work out for me. In the end, I’m very undecided about my experience with the book.

Overall it isn’t a bad book, but one I couldn’t relate to, so I think the overall story slipped right by me.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend it to read for those, who are at the retirement age or slightly below (55 or above), because the book seems to be aimed at that audience. Not that someone younger than that wouldn't enjoy it, but I don't think a lot of readers who are my age (25), would enjoy the book or get anything from it.

What to read next: I honestly don't know where to even begin on what to read next. If you enjoyed the book/author, then I'd say check out more of her books. But I'm not sure what would be good to read next in this case.

Challenges: Read 'n' Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Category Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge, Reading Through the Seasons Challenge, Support Your Library Challenge,
Typically British Challenge


  1. I had never heard of this book, but I don't think that I'm the intended audience for it either. I have heard good things about Pym, but haven't yet managed to read any of her books. I guess this isn't the place to start!

  2. Zibilee - This book is definitely not the best place to start with the author, I haven't checked out her other books, but from other reviews, they're overall well done.