Oleander, Jacaranda

Oleander, Jacaranda : A Childhood Perceived

3.84 (296 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback

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This autobiography is about growing up in Egypt. It is also an investigation into childhood perception in which the author uses herself and her memories as an insight into how children see and know. It is a look at Eygpt up to, and including, World War II from a small girl's point of view, which is also, ultimately, a moving and rather sad picture of an isolated and lonely little girl.show more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 14mm | 222.26g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140235876
  • 9780140235876

Review Text

The poignancy of lost childhood is vividly evoked in Penelope Lively's recollection of early years in Egypt, the Sudan, and Palestine. Brought up among the privileged British pre-war community, her idyll was not ended by the war, but by the private cataclysm of her parents' divorce, banishment to an English boarding-school, and painful separation from her beloved Nanny, the rock in a puzzling grown-up world. An only child, Penelope was a critical observer and now recalls what she saw, translating her childhood vision into words. She has already distilled some early Egyptian memories into two novels (Moon Tiger and Cleopatra's Sister), but the picture she paints here is magical - feathery palm-trees, waving sugar-canes, the dreaded water-buffalo, and the private world of the garden with 'my vine hammock in the hedge hideaway'. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

"Vivid . . . forthright and witty. . . . [Lively] turns her hand to autobiography with the same depth of feeling and meaning that characterizes her fiction."-- "New York Times Book Review""The vivid confusions of childhood and the shadings that come with retrospect are seemingly blended."-- Merle Rubin, "Wall Street Journal""A quite stunning mediation on the archaeology of memory and time's predations."-- "Kirkus Review" (starred review)show more

Rating details

296 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 22% (65)
4 47% (138)
3 26% (77)
2 5% (14)
1 1% (2)
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