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"The memory that we live with...is the moth-eaten version of our own past that each of us carries around, depends on. It is our ID; this is how we know who we are and where we have been."
Memory and history have been Penelope Lively’s terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given listeners a glimpse into her influences and formative years.
Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively’s life, stretching from her early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain’s 20th century. She reflects on her early love of archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey - including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach. She also writes insightfully about aging and what life looks like from where she now stands.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 02-21-15
A most pleasant diversion
Okay, lame title for the review. However, I chose it because although I knew nothing of Lively until this book, it sounded interesting. And it was. Not compelling. Not an exciting page turner for certain. Still, there is an incredible amount of insight into the life of a very wise and genteel lady. She sounds to me as if she would be a wonderful person to sit and have a long conversation with. Indeed, I guess that was the attraction of this book for me. It was like having a long but not overly so, conversation with an intelligent and charming member of a distinctive generation. Hard for me to explain, but it made me want to read her fiction to learn if it could match the quiet beauty of her nonfiction. Also, the narrator is one I am unfamiliar with but her voice was soothing without being soporific. Thank you Audible for introducing me to this author. And Kelly Birch, I look forward to more of your narration.
By Jon Crawfurd on 05-04-14
Inside Penelope's head at eighty
Some of the musing fail to resonate, but it's fascinating to be able to see the world from her point of view. I especially enjoyed her recollections of the disruption to her life from WWII. We think of war in grand terms, but this brings it to a very personal level.