‘The Sweet Dove Died’ by Barbara Pym

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    paul armfield

    A Happy New Year to you all. We start 2024 with a recent reissue of a modern classic, Barbara Pym’s ‘The Sweet Dove Died’. A favourite of Richard Osman she has been described as the most underrated author of the 20th Century. Though still ostensibly a comedy of manners, this novel is darker in tone than her earlier works, this may have been the influence of her friend the poet Philip Larkin whose help she sought in putting together the final draft. Written in the 60’s despite having had previous success this novel was rejected by 21 different publishers, even when she tried submitting under a male pseudonym. Eventually published in 1978, though not as overtly humourous than her other novels, it is now considered one of her best.

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