City of the Mind

City of the Mind

3.58 (344 ratings by Goodreads)
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City of the Mind is the second novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. 'This is the city in which everything is simultaneous. There is no yesterday, nor tomorrow, merely weather, and decay, and construction.' In London's changing heartland, architect Matthew Halland is aware of how the past and the present blend. It stirs memories of his boyhood, the early years of his daughter Jane and the failed marriage that he has almost put behind him. Here too is the London of prehistory, of Georgian elegance, of the Blitz. But Matthew is occupied with constructing a new future for London in Docklands, and with it he begins to forge new beginnings of his own. 'A glorious novel' Observer 'The descriptions of the London Blitz are achingly real' Sunday Telegraph 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; 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. Penelope Lively lives in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 14mm | 181.44g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0140156674
  • 9780140156676
  • 286,721

Review Text

From the author of the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger (1988), etc.: a serious, self-involved meditation on transience and immutability, with a map of London - present and past - laid on top. Matthew Halland, an architect undergoing a period of low-level mourning over the end of his marriage, roams about London visiting construction sites and entertaining his eight-year-old daughter. The child's innocently deep questions - "Why are there so many stars?" "Is there always another day?" - set off riff-like internal monologues, during which Matthew ponders the death of love and, really, the whole point of going on. A moral dilemma arises when he's pursued by a crooked real-estate tycoon, and a hopeful little light gets switched on when he meets Sarah Bridges in a sandwich shop. Their love blossoms slowly, tenuously, but still seems a reassuring sign, for when one feeling dies, apparently a new one can be horn. Meanwhile, Lively underscores the story with images of London's myriad neighborhoods, including fragments of the city as seen by a WW II fire warden, a street urchin, and a Victorian paleontologist - all of which are meant to suggest the presentness of the past, or "the immortality of the whole ensured by the transience of the many." Obviously thinky - indeed, a tad too introspective - but Lively is still a searching, gifted writer, mistress of a tightly reined-in sentimentality that will hit any reader who's experienced a funk such as Matthew Halland's. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Penelope Lively

Penelope Lively has written many prize-winning novels for adults and children. They include: The Road To Lichfield, According To Mark, Moon Tiger (which won the 1987 Booker Prize), Heat Wave, Spiderweb, The Photograph, Making It Up, Consequences and Family Album. Penelope Lively lives in more

Review quote

A glorious novel Observer The descriptions of the London Blitz are achingly real Sunday Telegraph Well crafted, complex, fascinating Time Out Bold and beautiful, often witty, hopeful, enriching Scotsmanshow more

Rating details

344 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 17% (57)
4 39% (134)
3 34% (116)
2 8% (26)
1 3% (11)
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