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The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym


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About the Author

Paula Byrne was born in Birkenhead and has a PhD from the University of Liverpool, where she is a Research Fellow in English Literature. Her first book, Jane Austen and the Theatre, was shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize. Her second book, Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson , the tale of the scandalous star of the 18th-century stage, literature and high-society, was a Richard and Judy bookclub pick. Her most recent book is Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead. The story of Evelyn Waugh's friendship with the extraordinary aristocratic family who inspired Brideshead Revisited, it was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. A regular contributor to the 'Times Literary Supplement', she lives in Warwickshire with her two young children and her husband, the critic and biographer Jonathan Bate.


'Byrne's comprehensive biography ... is unlikely to be bettered ... This is an elegant, incisive and sympathetic biography that deepens our understanding of Pym ... Byrne succeeds admirably'
Literary Review

'Engrossing ... The chapters are enticingly short, and I romped through them. Each adds a vital piece of the jigsaw, explaining the provenance of her fictional characters and building up our understanding of [her] state of mind ... It's a delight to meet her again in these pages'
The Times

'Light-hearted and lively ... Byrne is an excellent literary detective, tracing acquaintances directly into the novels. The author seems to have been as fun, clever and kind as her best creations'
Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times

'Illuminating ... Byrne sees what fun Pym was, how much she liked and was fascinated by people ... and has done us a great service in exploring this very unusual personality ... This, like its subject's best books, rewards reading and re-reading'

'Both hilarious and heartbreaking ... Byrne is beautifully savvy about her subject's fiction ... as a manifesto for her genius, it is gloriously persuasive'
Daily Telegraph

'Byrne's book is outstanding ... Just like a Pym novel, this biography is warm, funny, unexpected and deeply moving'
Financial Times

'Excellent ... Byrne's book is the first to integrate its revelations into a cradle-to-grave biography'
Guardian, Book of the Week

'Outstanding ... meticulously researched, affectionate and fascinating in equal measure'
Daily Express

'Wonderfully attentive and touching ... Byrne's book is such a joy. It refreshes the parts other biographies simply cannot reach'

'Barbara Pym is one of my most favourite novelists. Few other writers have given me more laughter and more pleasure. I am therefore enchanted that this biography by Paul Byrne captures both Barbara and her writing so miraculously'
Jilly Cooper

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