A tale of a woman’s romantic entanglements with two anthropologists—and the odd mating habits of humans—from the author of Jane and Prudence. Catherine Oliphant writes for women’s magazines and lives comfortably with anthropologist Tom Mallow—although she’s starting to wonder if they’ll ever get married. Then Tom drops his bombshell: He’s leaving her for a nineteen-year-old student. Though stunned by Tom’s betrayal, Catherine quickly becomes fascinated by another anthropologist, Alaric Lydgate, a reclusive eccentric recently returned from Africa. As Catherine starts to weigh her options, she must figure out who she is and what she really wants. With a lively cast of characters and a witty look at the insular world of academia, this novel from the much-loved author of Excellent Women and other modern classics is filled with poignant, playful observations about the traits that separate us from our anthropological forebears—far fewer than we may imagine.
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About the Author
Barbara Pym (1913–1980) was a bestselling and award-winning English novelist. Her first book, Some Tame Gazelle (1950), launched her career as a writer beloved for her social comedies of class and manners. Pym is the only author to be named twice in a Times Literary Supplement list of “the most underrated novelists of the century.” She produced thirteen novels, the last three published posthumously. Her 1977 novel Quartet in Autumn was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
· Readers of twentieth-century literary fiction
· Fans of English domestic dramas· Jane Austen fans looking for more contemporary reads
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A wonderful read but read the author's "Excellent Women" first. ~*~LEB~*~
My impression of the first 50 pages of Less Than Angels was that it's plot was very slow-moving, like a wide river with almost no perceptible action. Indeed, the first 50 pages are the reader's surface introduction to at least fifteen different characters and the very beginnings of a plot. Less Than Angels is a community of contrasts. Professors of Anthropology mingle with fledgling students. The aged and retired cast a skeptical eye on the young and impulsive. Frenchmen stand baffled by the British. At the center of the story is Tom Mallow, a distinguished yet vain anthropologist caught between a relationship with a sophisticated older journalist and a younger wide-eyed student. This is an excellent study of English culture (lots of tea-times and interesting meals) along with the typical social graces and faux pas.