Once again, I am delighted and impressed by Penelope Lively's effortless skill in winding me into her story. In this case, it really is her story. A House Unlocked is her ruminative ramble through British (and Russian) history, prompted by objects, plants and memories of her grandmother's house in rural Somerset, where Lively spent much … Continue reading Penelope Lively, A House Unlocked
This very good autobiography by one of our great biographers has a truly terrible photograph of herself on the cover. Claire Tomalin looks tired, as if she's not been looking after herself; she's irritated and preoccupied, but also patient. This is the face of a woman who had recently been widowed, with four children to … Continue reading Claire Tomalin, A Life of My Own
The latest in a series of unexpectedly popular posts in which I complain about books I haven’t enjoyed, and why. Links to earlier editions are at the end. Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger I’ve had a copy of Lively's Booker-winning Moon Tiger for ages, and had to steel myself to read it, with some reluctance. I don’t usually … Continue reading Three small duds
I've been having trouble with Penelope Lively lately. I love most of her adult novels that I've tried, with the glaring, embarrassing, exception of Booker-winning Moon Tiger which I found dull. I now have two theories as to why Moon Tiger is in all the charity shops, but few of her other novels are. The … Continue reading The trouble with Penelope Lively: Oleander, Jacaranda
Here are short reviews of books I’ve liked recently, for your consideration. Georgette Heyer, Royal Escape (1938) This is not a Regency romance, and it’s possibly the weakest of her historical reconstructions, but I liked it enough to keep reading, simply because I don’t know the history of Charles II's escape from the Battle of … Continue reading These I have quite liked
A slightly unfortunate phrasing, that: as if she'd written a novel called Death, or Sudden Demise. It's a great novel, and I talk about it over on Vulpes Libris. Go see.