Penelope Lively's website


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Penelope Lively's reflections on old age and memory, a maverick form of memoir,
was published by Penguin Fig Tree on 9th October 2013

 



This is not quite a memoir. Rather it is the view from old age. And a view of old age itself, this place at which we arrive with a certain surprise - ambushed or so it can seem. One of the advantages of age is that you can report on it with a certain authority; you are a native now and know what goes on here.

In this charming but powerful memoir, Penelope Lively reports from beyond the horizon of old age.She describes what old age feels like for those who have arrived there, and considers the implications of the new demographic. She looks at the context of a life and times, the history and archaeology that is actually being made as we live out our lives in real time, in her case World War II; penny pinching Britain; the Suez crisis; the Cold War and up to the present day.She examines the tricks and truth of memory. She looks back over a lifetime of reading and writing. And finally she looks at her identifying cargo of possessions - two ammonites, a cat, a pair of American ducks and a leaping fish sherd, among others. This is an elegant, moving and deeply enjoyable memoir by one of our most loved writers.



What Lively offers is a series of meditations on memory itself and on what still gives her life purpose: reading and history. Her attitude is rueful but accepting. . .Such briskness, expressing valuable insight and masking deep feeling, will delight all those who love Lively's novels.. .The sections on Old Age, Life and Times, and Memory each stand alone, but form a beautiful, intricate pattern.
Daily Mail


AMMONITES AND LEAPING FISH is powerfully consoling. Lively is certainly sagacious, her words careful and freighted. But there is girlishness here too. Things still catch her eye, her attention. New books. Old stories. Another day for the taking.
The Observer


Lucid but subtle, the centre-piece on memory both anchors the whole book and addresses Lively's own practice as a novelist. . . This bracingly self-aware memoir ends with a recognition that "it is not enough to live here and now". Other worlds, and other epochs, have moulded every life in time.
The Independent


The book opens with a sharp, unsentimental and ruefully funny account of what it is like, at the age of eighty, to be "in the departure lounge". . . If, as she claims, this enjoyable book "is not a memoir", it is about time and memory, which give us our sense of who we are.
Sunday Telegraph


Penelope Lively's fascinating, lucid study could scarcely be more timely. This is not a memoir, she tells us, but "the view from old age". At 80, she is now a native of that country to which no one ever plans to travel, and it is hard to conceive of a more truthful and rigorous reporter.
The Times


Like old age itself this book is not for sissies. Luckily for us Lively is one of our most gifted writers.
Sunday Express


An elegant and thoughtful dissection of a subject few writers dare to dwell on.. . One of the finest novelists writing in Britain today.
Times Magazine


Not a memoir exactly, but rather "the view from old age", Penelope Lively's "life in time" is a reader's pure delight. For starters, the book is a beautiful object in itself, as her books often are.
Independent on Sunday


In the final essay of this memoir, circling here theme in plain subtle sentences as likely to be hymning the disposable fashion of Primark as quoting from Frank Kermode, Lively shares six desert-island objects.
Sunday Times



Penelope Lively's penultimate novel, HOW IT ALL BEGAN, was published by Penguin/Fig Tree in November 2011. (see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .) and was published in the US by Viking in January 2012. (see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .)

The paperback edition of Penelope Lively's previous novel, FAMILY ALBUM, was published by Penguin. She discussed it at the "Ways with Words" Literary Festival at Dartington on July 18th. see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .

"FAMILY ALBUM was published in the US by Viking in October 2009. see cover detail and reviews . . . . . .

Her earlier novel, CONSEQUENCES, was published in June 2007. more . . . . .

MAKING IT UP, was published on 2005. This work of fiction is a form of anti-memoir, in which she imagines some of the alternative outcomes, had she gone down a different road at crucial points in her life. A ship travelling to Cape Town during the second world war, an archeological dig in the nineteen seventies, Cairo in the early fifties - these are some of the roads not taken, through which winds the thread of what really happened.more . . . . .

Penguin Classics published MOON TIGER and OLEANDER, JACARANDA in paperback in 2006
read the reviews of her novel, The Photograph

Biographical notes
Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She subsequently read Modern History at St. Anne's College, Oxford. In 1957 she married Jack Lively (who died in 1998). They had two children, Josephine and Adam. Jack Lively's academic career took the family from Swansea to Sussex and Oxford, and eventually to Warwick University, where he was Professor of Politics. Penelope Lively now has six grandchildren and lives in London.

Literary awards
TREASURES OF TIME, Arts Council National Book Award
NOTHING MISSING BUT THE SAMOVAR, Southern Arts Literature Prize
THE ROAD TO LICHFIELD, shortlisted for the Booker Prize
ACCORDING TO MARK, shortlisted for the Booker Prize
THE GHOST OF THOMAS KEMPE, Carnegie Medal
A STITCH IN TIME, Whitbread Award
MOON TIGER, Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Whitbread Award
FAMILY ALBUM, shortlisted for the Costa Prize
Many of Penelope Lively's books are translated into several foreign languages.

Short stories have appeared in Encounter, The Literary Review, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Options, The Observer, Woman's Own and other magazines including foreign periodicals. A number have also been read on the BBC and on Australian Radio.

Penelope Lively has reviewed regularly and written articles for Encounter, the Sunday and the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Observer, the New York Times, Books and Bookmen, The Literary Review, The Times Educational Supplement, the Standard and other journals and newspapers. She has also written radio and TV scripts; and acted as presenter for a Radio 4 programme on children's literature.

Penelope lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors, of which she is a former chairman. She is a former member of the Arts Council Literature Panel and of the Board of the British Library. She has been a member of the Board of the British Council and of the Council of Goldsmiths College. Awarded the OBE in 1989, CBE in 2002, and DBE in 2012, Hon. D.Litt., Tufts University, Mass., 1992, Hon. D.Litt. Warwick University 1998

Books by Penelope Lively


Fiction

THE ROAD TO LICHFIELD, 1977
NOTHING MISSING BUT THE SAMOVAR, and other stories, 1978
TREASURES OF TIME, 1979
JUDGEMENT DAY, 1980
NEXT TO NATURE, ART, 1982
PERFECT HAPPINESS, 1983
CORRUPTION, and other stories, 1984
ACCORDING TO MARK, 1984
PACK OF CARDS, STORIES 1978-86, 1986
MOON TIGER, 1987
PASSING ON, 1989
CITY OF THE MIND, 1991
CLEOPATRA'S SISTER, 1993
HEAT WAVE, 1996
SPIDERWEB, 1998
THE PHOTOGRAPH, 2003
MAKING IT UP, 2005
CONSEQUENCES, 2007
FAMILY ALBUM, 2009
HOW IT ALL BEGAN, 2011

Non -fiction

The PRESENCE OF THE PAST: An introduction to landscape history, 1976
OLEANDER, JACARANDA: A CHILDHOOD PERCEIVED, 1994
A HOUSE UNLOCKED, 2001
AMMONITES AND LEAPING FISH, 2013

Children's books

ASTERCOTE, 1970
THE WHISPERING KNIGHTS, 1971
THE WILD HUNT OF HAGWORTHY, 1971
THE DRIFTWAY, 1972
THE GHOST OF THOMAS KEMPE, 1973
THE HOUSE IN NORHAM GARDENS, 1974
GOING BACK, 1975
A STITCH IN TIME, 1976
THE VOYAGE OF QV66, 1978
THE REVENGE OF SAMUEL STOKES, 1981
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOW, 1976
BOY WITHOUT A NAME, 1975
FANNY'S SISTER, 1976
FANNY AND THE MONSTERS, 1978
FANNY AND THE BATTLE OF POTTER'S PIECE, 1980
FANNY AND THE MONSTERS (three Fanny stories), 1983
UNINVITED GHOSTS and other stories, 1984
DRAGON TROUBLE, 1984
DEBBIE AND THE LITTLE DEVIL, 1987
A HOUSE INSIDE OUT, 1987
PRINCESS BY MISTAKE, 1993
JUDY AND THE MARTIAN, 1993
THE CAT, THE CROW AND THE BANYAN TREE, 1 994
GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT, 1995
TWO BEARS AND JOE, 1995
STAYING WITH GRANDPA, 1995
A MARTIAN COMES TO STAY, 1995
LOST DOG, 1996
ONE, TWO, THREE . . . JUMP, 1998

Introductions
To Ivy Compton-Burnett: Manservant and Maidservant, Oxford University Press 1987
To Ivy Compton-Burnett: A Father and his Fate, Oxford University Press 1984
To Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence, Virago 1988
To Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Everyman 1993
To Willa Cather: My Antonia, Everyman 1996
To The Mythical Quest, The British Library 1996
To Ahdaf Soueif: The Map of Love, Bloomsbury 2007
To Carol Shields: The Stone Diaries, Penguin Classics (USA) 2008
To Book Trade Lives, British Library 2008
To Priscilla Napier: A Late Beginner, Slightly Foxed Editions 2009
To Rosemary Sutcliffe: The Lantern Bearers, The Folio Society 2011

Purchase a Book?

Penelope Lively's books in paperback are shown with synopses on the Penguin website. Click on the link to display the complete list of Penelope Lively's books (both new and used) on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Recent reprints in Penguin Modern Classics


 


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