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This sounds wonderful. I like it that it's like two topics in one. Her life in Egypt and how memory works. I have two of her books here and feel I need to move them up on the pile as well. That particulat time in Egype strikes me as very fascinating too. I wonder if it's not also a very melancholic book. That's a world that was lost forever. I think some of the passages you quote show that it could be quite useful to read her memoir to fully understand her novel. I think memory is a key theme, isn't it?


Caroline--It was a nice take on a memoir--and yes, it was very much geared towards how memory works-but not really in a scientific way. She combined a number of different elements--a meditation on memory and perception, but also recollections of what it was like to grow up in Egypt at that time--I really liked it. I had never read anything by her before, but she is an eloquent writer which makes me want to pick up something else by her soon. There were sad things about her life--but she writes about that fairly matter of factly. When she returned to Egypt she did find her old house, but there were other parts of Cairo that were unrecognizable to her now--that must have been jarring. I think you would like this one.


off topic Danielle but you may find this programme an interesting listen

"The pacifist Vera Brittain - whose Testament of Youth conveys the toll of the First World War on her generation - is discussed by her daughter Baroness Shirley Williams and Dr Clare Gerada."


Val--Thanks for the link. The BBC has such great programs--I really need to get on a mailing list or something to see what programs are coming. That sounds wonderful--I'm off to check it out and see when I can listen. It's only too bad the programs are only archived for a week or so--I am never quick enough it seems!

Claire (The Captive Reader)

I love Lively and I've been really looking forward to reading this - now even more! Of her books I've read so far, my favourite has been Making It Up, which I think you would really enjoy. It's fiction but based on her life, stories about the lives she didn't lead, the paths she didn't take. I found it incredibly fascinating and the stories are beautifully told from a variety of perspectives.


I loved this book too. You might also enjoy A House Unlocked by PL. It`s a memoir based around the house in Somerset that was in PL`s family for years. I enjoyed it because I lived in the area for 20+ years and it was just as interesting as Oleander, Jacaranda, if set in a more prosaic area!



I have read a couple of her books but I really enjoyed the bits and pieces of the author's background. Adds so much depth to the post. Thanks.


I like the sound of this book. I'm really attracted to books set in Egypt at the moment.


I've been a fan of Lively since my twenties when I first read Moon Tiger. She is an author who manages to write beautifully in an elegant yet compelling way. Her books are clever but never less than accessible and gripping. I think The Photograph was probably the one of hers that I liked the best (but it's a close call!). I haven't read her autobiography, but I would love to - lovely review.


Penelope Lively is one of my favorite authors, but I only read this last year - and really enjoyed it as well. I see Claire has already recommended Making It Up - one of the alternative histories of her life in that is set in her childhood. I've just started reading her children's books as well, which were her first published.


Go to this page Danielle

and you can download the programme to listen when you wish..they call it a podcast but it'll simply download and save as an mp3 file you don't need to subscribe or anything more complicated than right click save :0)


What a fascinating-sounding book, and an excellent review that makes me want to read it. I especially like the way in which she approached writing about her childhood. Thank you for bringing her to my attention.

Cath @ Constance Reader

Sounds unlike anything I have read before, and therefore, a must-read. Glad you enjoyed it!

(Maybe you'd like Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell, if you liked this?)


I feel as thought Penelope Lively is an author that I should be reading. One day maybe!


Claire--She seems to be an unusual sort of writer from what I am hearing about her other books. If this is anything to go by I think it will be fun exploring her other work. I'll check Making It Up out--I know I have a couple of other books by her on my shelves.

Jane--My library has A House Unlocked and I was actually looking at that one, but not sure about it. It almost sounds like Bill Bryson's book At Home--will go look at it more closely now! Somehow I think anything she writes will be interesting!

Mystica--It is interesting reading about writers, isn't it? Particularly when you've read some of her work and already have an idea in mind about her.

Joanne--You might really enjoy this one if Egypt appeals at the moment. Now I think I am going to read more about the area as well!

Litlove--I had heard Moon Tiger was good, and even have it on my pile, but now I looking forward to reading it even more so. Her writing really is gorgeous and she does seem to do some unusual things with her writing. This was totally engrossing which bodes well for her other books! And I happen to have The Photograph on my shelves--very convenient! :)

Lisa--I can see why she is a favorite and I expect I'm going to enjoy exploring her books, too. I can't believe I owned this for so long before picking it up and reading--but timing is everything I guess.

Val--Perfect! I really do need to explore their site a little more... :) I'm going to load the program to listen to when I'm walking. Thanks!

Kathy--She's very good and writes elegantly. Do check her out. I like the twist she had to writing about her childhood--very creative.

Cath--I've not read a memoir quite like it before either--and I do love a good memoir! I have that book--I have owned it far too long and you're right the setting is just perfect to make it a companion read--thanks!

Marg--Me, too! I think I might be doing so sooner than later--the timing seems right for me and her work.

Liz F

I loved Moon Tiger when I read it years ago and I have both The Photograph and A House Unlocked on one of my many bookshelves - though probably not the same one as I am not that organised!

Oleander-Jacaranda sounds fascinating but rather sad too - I think that my heart would go out to the young Penelope although her experiences clearly contributed to making her a writer!


I've not read Lively but everyone seems to always say good things about her and now you are too! This does sound like an interesting memoir.

Buried In Print

I know that I must sound like I get a commission every time I mention them, because I can't seem to stop mentioning them, but the World Book Club podcasts featured her recently (December, I think), Moon Tiger in particular, and it was just lovely to hear her speak of her work; I know you were meaning to get back into listening to these, and perhaps this would be the perfect incentive!


Liz--I've been trying to at least organize my books so books by the same author are together. Where they reside on my shelves otherwise is anyone's guess! I can see it will be worth looking for copies of her books. My library has a good collection, and I do have a few myself including Moon Tiger. I can't wait to read more after hearing such good things about her books. She did have a rough time as a little girl and with her parents divorcing and not spending much time with her--not unusual from the sound of things. Still, she doesn't look for pity in her writing--all presented matter of factly. Her early life is so intriguing!

Buried in Print--Well, you've earned your commission tonight. Guess what I just spent the last half hour doing...loading podcasts from various BBC shows! I didn't like it before as I had to use iTunes, which I loathed, but now you can load directly from their website and I dragged the shows onto my MP3 player--yay. I have the Penelope Lively, the Vera Brittain pocasts and even the Henning Mankell that you wrote about ages ago--several more, too. Can't wait to listen. The PL is a real find considering the timing and now I expect I'll be dragging out my copy of Moon Tiger, too! Thanks! I've also added the feeds to Google Reader so I can keep up on things. Cool.

Buried In Print

Oh, that's a great idea, adding the feeds to GR: thanks for that. Let me know if you'd be interested in co-reading Moon Tiger once you've had a listen; I've been meaning to make time for it for aaaaages, and this listening certainly adding to the craving.


Buried in Print--It looks like those shows are only once a month or so, so a feed will be a good way to keep track of when a new one comes out. I should be happy they aren't every day as when could I fit in even more listening? But I am still totally greedy and always want more. I'd love to do a readalong for Moon Tiger. I am very much looking forward to reading more of her work--loved this book. Let me listen to the podcast this week and then we can plan something? Sounds like fun! :)


I love Lively so much!! So glad you've enjoyed this one... I really enjoyed Making It Up as well, and am really looking forward to her newest book, How It All Began, as soon as I can get my hands on it.


Melwyk--After reading her memoir I can see why you love her. I'm already looking forward to reading more. I actually am lucky to have her new book checked out but have not had a chance to start it yet. I'll check out Making it Up as it has been mentioned by others as being a good read, too. Thanks!

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