Paperback: 261 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin 2010
Source: British Red Cross Charity Shop
First Sentence: Gina turned the car off the road and into the driveway of Allersmead
Review Quote: 'Lively succeeds brilliantly in getting a hold on the climate of family life. Simply devastating' The Times
Favourite Quote:"like most people they know one another inside out and not at all"
Literary Awards: Costa Book Award Nominee for Novel (2009)
My Opinion: A family saga about the unreliability of family life and how is not always as it seems to outsiders. Nine people living together in a rambling Edwardian house in a provincial town somewhere in the UK. For years the six children protected their mother's memories of a childhood that was blissful. We hear from them as adults how their different viewpoints of growing up have had consequences in their adult lives. A heartfelt tale that is an absorbing read.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
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? Now grown-up and off in different directions, one by one the children return to Allersmead, to their home-making mother and aloof writer father and a house that for years has played silent witness to the secrets of a family, and one particular secret of which no one speaks… In her sixteenth novel, Penelope Lively shows her extraordinary understanding of what makes us human as she delves into the mystery of family life.
Video Interview for 'Family Album' Courtesy of YouTube
Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt on March 17th 1933. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She went on to 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.
She is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.
Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra’s Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began.
She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List, and DBE in 2012.
Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.
Goodreads Author Profile Penelope Lively - Amazon Book Page
Penelope Lively - Official Website