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Penelope Lively grew up in Egypt but settled in England after the war and took a degree in history at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors. She was married to the late Professor Jack Lively, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, and lives in Oxfordshire and London.Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. Her novels include Passing On, shortlisted for the 1989 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister and Heat Wave. Many of her books, including Going Back, which first appeared as a children's book, and Oleander, Jacaranda, an autobiographical memoir of her childhood days in Egypt, are published in Penguin.Penelope Lively has also written radio and television scripts and has acted as presenter for a BBC Radio 4 programme on children's literature. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.
Alison wants the world to know that she presides over a large, happy, close-knit family. She and her distracted, uninvolved scholarly husband, Charles, have a brood of six who, along with Ingrid, the au pair, fill Allersmead, a somewhat worn, sprawling Edwardian English manse. Through the masterly use of emotional intricacies, Lively gradually reveals the simmer beneath the surface that belies the image of unity Alison has insisted on for decades, both within the family framework and without, to the world at large. Tradition and a sense of duty compel the adult children to return to Allersmead over the years, and it is through the mature observations of their childhood traumas (along with those of Alison, Charles, and Ingrid) that one learns the true cost of the shared and separate secrets that have informed their grownup lives as well as their relationships to one another. Verdict No doubt frazzled mothers of much smaller families will find comfort in Lively's probing, challenging take on large family life and maternal competence. Lively's 17th adult novel is a wonderful follow-up to Gil Courtemanche's A Good Death. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]-Beth E. Anderson, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Lively immediately plunges us into an entirely convincing world of bustling family life...exceptionally well observed and gloriously enjoyable...this should be rated as one of her most impressive works * Guardian * One of those ridiculously simple, ridiculously readable novels whose artistry only becomes apparent when you put it down with a sign of regret, having devoured it in one sitting...Lively still displays an economy and an elegance that put younger writers to shame * Sunday Telegraph * Lively's brilliance is of the creeping kind. There is a sense of formality, which falls away as the novel gains pace and builds towards an unforeseen end. She is particularly good at bending language to make it fit her cool and clear voice...Lively succeeds brilliantly in getting a hold on the climate of family life. Slowly we absorb the details that get lost in the bluster and flurry until we are so drawn in, so tightly contained in the dynamics of this one, that the end, when it comes, is simply devastating * The Times * A pleasure to read, hugely enjoyable, consistently absorbing, hilarious * Independent * An involving emotional drama and an insightful examination of changing family values * Easy Living * The complexities and silences of family life are intelligently and subtly explored...a very engaging novel, continuously interesting and often moving * Scotsman * Gorgeous -- David Vann * Guardian Books of the Year * Sympathetic and observant, Lively moves fluidly between present-tense set-piece scenes and silent monologues, placing the novel's revelations where they will be most effective, and allowing implications - about marriage, feminism and personal ambition - to blossom slowly * Sunday Times * Penelope Lively at her best, sharp-eyed but sympathetic, deftly steering the reader from one point of view to another. This novel should delight her regular readers and ensnare new ones * Evening Standard * A very readable, well-paced novel peopled with Lively's customary immaculately observed and impeccably rounded characters * Independent on Sunday * Lively skilfully mingles past and present, as she peels away the layers to uncover a family secret of which no one speaks...Lively's astute skewering of family relations reverberates in the mind long afterwards * Daily Mail * Lively plays her sleight of hand with admirable dexterity. The dialogue is pitch-perfect, the writing crisp and the humour wonderfully dry * Tatler * Gripping. An intelligent look at family relationships and the knock-on effects of past events on the present. It's an absorbing tale of mystery and intrigue that will leave you wondering what lies behind even the nicest facade * Woman & Home * A deeply satisfying, eloquent family-fabric novel * Good Housekeeping *
Employing her trademark skill at honing detail and dialogue, Lively (Moon Tiger) delivers a vigorous new novel revolving around a house outside of London, the sprawling Edwardian homestead of Allersmead, and the family of six children who grew up there. By degrees-in shifting POVs and time periods cutting from the 1970s until the present-Lively introduces the prodigious Harper family. There's Alison, the frazzled matriarch, who married young and pregnant, and persuaded her historian husband to buy Allersmead; distracted father Charles, who writes recherche tomes in his study and can't remember what ages his children are; and the children, who range from the wayward eldest and mother's favorite, Paul, to the youngest, Clare, whose parentage involves a family secret concerning Ingrid, the Scandinavian au pair. Lively adeptly focuses on the second-oldest, Gina, a foreign journalist who planned her life to stay far away from home until, at age 39, fellow journalist Philip goads her to contemplate settling down for the first time. With its bountiful characters and exhaustive time traveling, Lively's vivisection of a nuclear family displays polished writing and fine character delineation. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.