Books by Penelope Lively

Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt, March 17, 1933. She was sent to England at age 12 to attend school and graduated from St. Anne's College in 1956. Prior to age twelve she was educated at home with books that were sent from England. She remembers

Released: Feb. 10, 2014

"Readers will share her relief that dementia has not made an appearance. Although they will long for her next novel, few will regret that she has taken time off to write this unsentimental, occasionally poignant meditation on a long life, mostly well spent."
An insightful book of self-reflection from the acclaimed novelist—"not quite a memoir," she writes, but "the view from old age." Read full book review >
FAMILY ALBUM by Penelope Lively
Released: Nov. 2, 2009

"Cool, anticlimactic storytelling, lacking the Booker Prize-winning author's customary delicacy and depth."
Lively (Consequences, 2007, etc.) anatomizes a sprawling but not especially enthralling middle-class clan. Read full book review >
CONSEQUENCES by Penelope Lively
Released: June 4, 2007

"Intelligent escapism: Although grounded by social history, this novel has its head in the fairy-tale clouds, where good things always await."
Three generations of independent women in a single family are fortunate enough to meet the loves of their lives. Read full book review >
MAKING IT UP by Penelope Lively
Released: Oct. 24, 2005

"Lively's ability to reveal character sharply and instantaneously makes this an unalloyed pleasure."
This collection of eight short semi-fictional works demonstrates the effortlessly transparent style that has won English novelist Lively (The Photograph, 2003, etc.) both a Booker Prize and an appreciative international audience. Read full book review >
THE PHOTOGRAPH by Penelope Lively
Released: June 9, 2003

"Always a pleasure to watch a pro at work, but Lively has done better than this."
A beautiful woman continues beyond death to fascinate her survivors, in this 16th novel from the Booker-winning British author (Spiderweb, 1999, etc.) also well known for her children's fantasy fiction. Read full book review >
A HOUSE UNLOCKED by Penelope Lively
Released: April 1, 2001

"As Lively shapes the greater social picture, she keeps it invested with a personal stake, making her world a deeply lived experience."
A memoir from novelist Lively (Spiderweb, 1999, etc.) in which the personal opens onto the greater social vista with the help of grace and a gimlet eye, as nearly an entire century reverberates inside an English country house. Read full book review >
SPIDERWEB by Penelope Lively
Released: April 1, 1999

"A quietly compelling drama with many shades of sadness, this is also a scrupulous portrait, both honest and sympathetic, of the proverbial rolling stone."
A strong addition to the already impressive list of Lively's fictional accomplishments (Heat Wave, 1996, etc.), this contemplative tale features a social anthropologist who proves increasingly unable to cope with retirement in her new pastoral home in the west of England, where entanglements good and bad threaten to undo a life of complete self-sufficiency. Read full book review >
HEAT WAVE by Penelope Lively
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"While the denouement proves surprisingly clichÇd, emotional nuances are unerringly precise, creating a full-bodied, often elegant portrayal of a fragile family dynamic forever altered by adultery. (Author tour)"
A heavier touch than Booker-winner Lively's last novel (Cleopatra's Sister, 1993) is in evidence here, as a mother watches her daughter's marriage to a philanderer founder just as her own did—until summer's oppressive heat fashions a more decisive end. Read full book review >
OLEANDER, JACARANDA by Penelope Lively
Released: April 1, 1994

"A quite stunning meditation on the archaeology of memory and time's predations—persistent concerns in Lively's recent, superior fiction. (16 pages b&w photographs—not seen)"
Lively's experience as an English child in Egypt (and briefly, Sudan, Palestine, and exotic en routes) is perceived and pursued through the stubborn opacity of adult memory, longing for ``the rainbow experience we all have lost but of which we occasionally retrieve a brilliant glimpse.'' It is novelist Lively's (Cleopatra's Sister, 1993, etc.) aim to discuss ``the nature of childhood perception and a view of Egypt in the 1930's and 1940's.'' She richly and elegantly succeeds. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1994

"There's enough of the Saturday morning cartoon here to grab kids; those prepared to see it will find much more. (Picture book. 4-10)"
The author of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973) and other fantasies for children (and also a Booker Prize winner for her adult fiction) adds to her distinguished list a picture book with a delectably sly subtext on narrative style. Read full book review >
CLEOPATRA'S SISTER by Penelope Lively
Released: April 14, 1993

"This is amusing in the urbane British way, satiric without ever testing the limits of credibility, larkish but not fluffy—in short, more of the Lively right stuff."
This latest addition to the Lively oeuvre (The Road to Lichfield, City of the Mind, etc.) is a welcome one—a kind of romance with star-crossed lovers and all, but with a lot more sardonicism than Shakespeare ever vented on Romeo and Juliet. Read full book review >
CITY OF THE MIND by Penelope Lively
Released: Sept. 11, 1991

"Obviously thinky—indeed, a tad too introspective—but Lively is still a searching, gifted writer, mistress of a tightly reined-in sentimentality that will hit any reader who's experienced a funk such as Matthew Halland's."
From the author of the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger (1988), etc.: a serious, self-involved meditation on transience and immutability, with a map of London—present and past—laid on top. Read full book review >
THE ROAD TO LICHFIELD by Penelope Lively
Released: Feb. 1, 1991

This first novel by Lively, author of the 1987 Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger, has remained unknown to American readers since it was written over ten years ago-a pity, since it's rich and subtly contrived. Read full book review >
PACK OF CARDS: Stories: 1978-1986 by Penelope Lively
Released: March 11, 1986

Though Lively (Moon Tiger; Perfect Happiness) can be satirical, even wicked, these 36 stories (two earlier collections from England plus assorted recent stories, some published in US magazines) are mostly gentle, affectionate portraits of English men and women who muddle through. Read full book review >