What was the question? Was it profound? Shocking? Revealing? Turns out, it’s all of these, and it’s laced with British humor. The question was, “Do we need a cup of tea?” This comes next: “She sounded puzzled and distressed and I began to realize that my question had struck at something deep and fundamental.” Hence, the landslide. The author, Barbara Pym, called a twentieth-century Jane Austen, is one of my favorites. Salon describes her work as “a rare mixture of the humorous and the melancholy.” I have read her books so many times that they are finally falling apart.
Barbara Pym, Excellent Women (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), 227.