Cleopatra's Sister is the tenth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Detached and unwordly paleontologist Howard Beamish is on a journey that is to change his life. Travelling to Nairobi, his plane is forced to land in Marsopolis, the capital of Callimbia, where Cleopatra's sister entertained Antony. Also on the flight is Lucy ...
Cleopatra's Sister is the tenth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively. Detached and unwordly paleontologist Howard Beamish is on a journey that is to change his life. Travelling to Nairobi, his plane is forced to land in Marsopolis, the capital of Callimbia, where Cleopatra's sister entertained Antony. Also on the flight is Lucy Faulkner, a journalist with a sketchy knowledge of Callimbia's political turbulence. As chance throws them together, Howard and Lucy become embroiled in a revolution that is both political and personal. "Every sentence is a pleasure to read". (Sunday Express). "A fluent, funny, ultimately moving romance in which lovers share centre stage with Lively's persuasive meditations on history and fate ...a book of great charm with a real intellectual resonance at its core". (The New York Times Book Review). 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 London.
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Publishers Weekly, 1993-02-08 Surely this authoritatively controlled, highly accomplished novel, British author Lively's 10th (her Moon Tiger won the Booker), will increase her audience of discriminating readers here. Written with grace and clarity, and luminous with insights about the human condition, it is as timely as the evening news and as eternal as the most classic love story. Lively's subtext, the ``strange conjunction of likelihood and contingency'' that determines one's life, is convincing; she orchestrates a fateful mix of chance encounters, determined by character as well as coincidence. In alternating chapters, she depicts the lives of paleontologist Howard Beamish and crusading journalist Lucy Faulkner, both successful in their careers but unfulfilled because they have not established enduring relationships. They meet when the plane they are taking to Cairo makes a forced landing in Callimbia, a fictional country in the throes of a bloody revolution led by a lunatic dictator. Lively's witty, ironic construction of Callimbia's history ranges from its establishment by Cleopatra's sister Berenice through the rise of the ``moral renegade'' who orders the plane's British passengers taken hostage. Through the eyes of Howard and Lucy, and in counterpoint to their growing love for each other, Lively depicts the passengers' responses to their plight: from annoyance to growing unease and to terror, as their captors grow more hostile and threatening and the situation turns more bizarre. Lively keeps the narrative deliberately low key while escalating the tension, which culminates when one of the group is singled out to be executed. Against all the conventions of contemporary fiction, Lucy and Howard's mature romance is fresh and convincing--though entirely without scenes of sexual union--and the wonder of love is made all the more clear in contrast to the precarious nature of human existence. (Apr.)
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