The beloved and best-selling author takes an intimate look back at a life of reading and writing.
"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.
"Narrator Kelly Birch's crisp British tones are an excellent match for Penelope Lively's direct writing style. This is not an emotional memoir but a more aloof reminiscence on certain themes. Lively wryly muses on the aches and pains of old age, is grateful for the joys of reading, and charms with her account of her most precious possessions, including the dancing fish and ammonites of the title. Birch effectively delivers all that. Lively comments that she can still remember her French even though she hasn't needed it in years, and Birch successfully manages that chatty prose." (AudioFile)
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A most pleasant diversion
- Amazon Customer
Inside Penelope's head at eighty
- Jon Crawfurd