Ammonites and Leaping Fish
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Ammonites and Leaping Fish : A Life in Time

By (author) Penelope Lively

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"Sharp, unsentimental and ruefully funny. A fascinating portrait not only of Lively but of the times through which she has lived". (Daily Telegraph). "Clever and poignant ...there is much to enjoy. This is Lively at her best". (Sunday Express). In this powerful and compelling 'view from old age', Penelope Lively, at eighty, reports back on what she finds. There are meditations on what it is like to be old as well as on how memory shapes us. There are intriguing examinations of key personal as well as historical moments she has lived through and her thoughts on her own bookishness - both as reader and writer. Lastly, she turns to six treasured possessions to speak eloquently about who she is and where she's been - fragments of memories from a life well lived. "A superb study of memory and of her own voyage into the ninth decade of her life. Lively is a compelling, vitally interested witness to time past". (Helen Dunmore, Observer, Books of the Year). "Enthralling. Will delight all those who love Lively's novels". (Daily Mail).

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 15mm | 170g
  • 07 Aug 2014
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • illustrations (black and white)
  • 0241966981
  • 9780241966983
  • 101,405

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Author Information

Penelope Lively 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; Beyond the Blue Mountains; Oleander, Jacaranda; Spiderweb; 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 was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours List, and DBE in 2012.

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Review quote

Fascinating, lucid ... Authority, yes; and wit, thoughtfulness, a tender attention to the natural world, an incisive but deeply humane imagination: Ammonites and Leaping Fish is full of all of these -- Helen Dunmore The Times Like old age itself this book is not for sissies. Luckily for us Lively is one of our most gifted writers ... This is Lively at her best Sunday Express A fascinating portrait not only of the author but of the times through which she has lived ... sharp, unsentimental and ruefully funny Daily Telegraph Lively's memoir about age and the pleasures and pains of seniority is informative, instructive, unexpected and beautifully observed Vogue An elegant and thoughtful dissection of a subject few writers dare dwell on Times Magazine Rich in observations and recollections. It should be read slowly because there is much to invite reflection Herald Scotland Other brilliant women writers (Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion ...) have written whole volumes on widowhood, but Penelope Lively's description of that condition is all the more affecting by being sparse ... Will delight all those who love Lively's novels ... It's all enthralling: autobiography in miniature Daily Mail A superb study of memory and of her own voyage into the ninth decade of her life ... Lively is a compelling, vitally interested witness to time past -- Helen Dunmore Observer Books of the Year Ammonites & Leaping Fish is powerfully consoling. Lively is certainly sagacious, her words careful and freighted. But there is girlishness here, too. Things still catch her eye, her attention. New books. Old stories. Another day for the taking -- Rachel Cooke Observer

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