A lovely book. Claudia is a real person, an independent woman in an era when it was tough to be yourself. Not likable, but often lovable for her honesty. And I loved the shifting between first person and third person.
Brilliant writing that captures the essence of time, memory, living, and death.
This is clever and very well written. The characters are interesting but not quite believable and yes, quite self involved. It's certainly worth reading but as many have noted, not Lively's best work. I wasn't crazy about the storyline but her descriptions of certain situations were wonderful.
Claudia is not an easy person to like. Penelope Lively's protagonist is a selfish, opinionated cold fish. Though she is beautiful and educated, there is nothing to recommend here. The writing is repetitious & uninspired, but the chapters devoted to her earlier episodes in the English countryside & in Cairo clearly resonate. One can't help thinking how much is autobiography & how much is pure fiction?
As she lays dying, an old woman remembers her life, her experiences as a war correspondent and as a writer of popular history. Her memories revolve around her complex and sometimes contentious relations with her brother and with the man who is the father of her daughter. Most significantly, she remembers the man she with whom she had a brief but intense affair in Egypt during World War II. Her description of that relationship is a thing of beauty. All-in-all, a remarkable character study and a wonderfully written novel. Small wonder this won the Booker Prize. One of my four favorites in 2012.
Although it won the Booker Prize in 1987, this book is disappointing. Claudia is old and dying, and she remembers excerpts from her life. She was married, had a daughter Lisa who didn't understand her and wasn't understood by her. Claudia was an observer in the desert war and fell in love with a soldier in Egypt. Claudia is an outspoken beautiful women who never had a deep relationship with anyone except her lover, who was killed in the war. Lively describes the desert well, and she contrasts the war with the British living pampered lives in Cairo. I preferred her book "The Photograph".
Not one likeable character...except maybe Tom.
A sour story and definitely not
Ms Lively's finest work.
Very clever look at how history and language shape a life, told from the viewpoint of a shocking and cantakerous narrator. Understandably won the Booker in 1987.
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