Every Barbara Pym novel is excellent. And, from most of them, you know what to expect: spinsters and curates and cakes and jumble sales.
But this one is about four people, old, and getting older, each one, in their own way. And this one is not just excellent: it is amazing.
The arch gaze which Pym usually trained on comfortable, mundane, church society, is, in Quartet, focused upon eccentricity: the growing manifestation of uniqueness which signifies old age. With a sensitivity which is unusual in the literature of any age, let alone that of this century, Pym follows the meanderings of her protagonists' minds,through their every day activities. Gradually, she derives an astounding narrative about the development of individual perspectives as they are colored by time.
It's a slow novel, a careful one, and one which turns Barbara Pym's penchant for wry insight into a sympathetic tribute to the human psyche.