A House Unlocked is Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively's classic memoir. The only child of divorced parents, Penelope Lively was often sent to stay at her grandparents' country house Golsoncott. Years later, as the house was sold out of the family, she began to piece together the lives of those she knew fifty years before. In a needlework ...
A House Unlocked is Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively's classic memoir. The only child of divorced parents, Penelope Lively was often sent to stay at her grandparents' country house Golsoncott. Years later, as the house was sold out of the family, she began to piece together the lives of those she knew fifty years before. In a needlework sampler, she sees her grandmother and the wartime children that she sheltered under her roof in 1940. Potted meat jars remind her of the ritual of doing the flowers for church. The smell of the harness room brings her Aunt Rachel - avant-garde artist, fervent horserider - vividly back to life. In A House Unlocked, Penelope Lively delves into the domestic past of her former home, and tells of her own youth and the contrasts between life today and the way they lived then. "Wonderful. Lively is brilliant and original...Every page of this book captures your attention". (Daily Mail). "Remarkable, richly enjoyable ...a captivating memoir". (Helen Dunmore, The Times). "Engaging, curious, compelling, remarkable...Any time spent with Penelope Lively is a joy". (Observer). 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.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-03-04 Using "the furnishings of a house as a mnemonic system," Lively (Moon Tiger) takes readers on an imaginary tour of Golsoncott, the Edwardian country house her grandparents bought in 1923, home to several generations of her family. She recalls the gong stand in the entryway (a symbol of "vanished rituals" calling the family to its meals) and her grandmother's intricately worked sampler, with its row of "skinnies" (representing evacuated children boarding at Golsoncott during WWII) just a few of the many objects that "spun a shining thread of reference" to another era and way of life. In this combination personal/social history, Lively tells of how even the layout of the rooms spoke to changes in thinking over the course of the century. Children were quartered in a nursery wing, far from the adults, not at the center of household life as they are today. Grandfather had his dressing-room separate from grandmother's bedroom; the gender divide in the early 20th century was not a "distinction" so much as a "chasm." Surrounding the house were its gardens, reflecting in their botanical variety the progress of British colonial expansion and commercial enterprise. Family photos with the names of the dogs and horses penciled in recall riding's role in country life and inspire a digression on the history of foxhunting. Despite all this, Lively unlocks more than the house and its century; the author herself is here, a product of both her corseted grandmother and the more modern eras that followed. This is a quietly intelligent, oddly soothing meditation on modernity. (Apr.) Forecast: Fans of Lively's Booker Prize and Whitbread Award-winning novels, Anglophiles, memoir readers and students of material culture will gravitate toward this. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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