When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true.
"Wonderful and beautifully written"
Booker Prize¿winning novelist Penelope Lively's latest masterpiece opens with a snapshot: Kath, before her death, at an unknown gathering, holding hands with a man who is not her husband. The photograph is in an envelope marked "DON'T OPEN - DESTROY." But Kath's husband does not heed the warning, embarking on a journey of discovery that reveals a tight web of secrets within marriages, between sisters, and at the heart of an affair.
"good but sad"
Consequences is a love-story-times-three that opens on the eve of the Second World War, with a chance meeting in St. James' Park, London. Wholly in love, Lorna and Matt leave the city for a cottage in a rural Somerset village. Their intimate life together is shattered when the war begins and by Matt's tragic death in action.
"I remember now why this is my favorite Lively"
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 few 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. Taking in old age, the context of one's life and times, memory, reading and writing, and the identifying cargo of possessions - two ammonites, a cat, a pair of American ducks, and a leaping fish sherd, amongst others - this is an elegant, moving, and deeply enjoyable memoir by one of our most loved writers.
"A book that inspires!"
In her 16th novel, Penelope Lively shows her extraordinary understanding of what makes us human as she delves into the mystery of family life.
Paleontologist Howard Beamish is flying to Nairobi when his plane is forced to land in Callimbia. Journalist Lucy Faulkner, on assignment to write a travel piece for a Sunday magazine, is on the same flight. What happens to Howard and Lucy in Callimbia is one of those accidents that determine fate, that bring love and take away joy, and that reveal the precariousness of our existence. With intelligence, grace, and gentle irony, Penelope Lively illuminates the age-old dance of myth and reality.
"An excellent reading of a difficult book"
Memory and history have been Penelope Lively’s terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given listeners a glimpse into her influences and formative years. Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively’s life, stretching from her early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain’s 20th century. She reflects on her early love of archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey - including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach.
"A most pleasant diversion"
A big shabby Victorian suburban house, the smell of raincoats and coq au vin in the hall, the six mugs for the children slung from the kitchen dresser hooks: for destructive Paul, difficult Gina, elegant Sandra, considerate Katie, clever Roger and flighty Clare, Allersmead was the perfect place to grow up. But was it?
When Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter, Rose, cannot accompany her employer, Lord Peters, to Manchester, which means his niece, Marion, has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is…just the beginning of the ensuing chain of life-altering events.
In this engaging, utterly absorbing and brilliantly told novel, Penelope Lively shows us how one random event can change the courses of many lives.