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For years, Alison's adult children have protected her illusion of domestic perfection - but as each child confronts the effects of past choices on their current adult lives, it becomes evident that each must face the truth.
Penelope Lively's novels of history, memory, and character have earned her a loyal legion of fans. Like Ian McEwan's Atonement, this novel is a measured, thoughtful look at how events of the past, both small and large, seen and unseen, deeply inform character and the present. Quietly provocative and disturbing, Family Album is a highly nuanced work that showcases a master of her craft.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By P. Carson on 07-10-10
Our Family Members We Have Not Known
The book starts slowly and the English setting and English narrator voice initially put me off. As the author visits and revisits the personality of each of the six children, their parents, and the live-in governess, however, each revisitation is more penetrating and revealing. The unhappy children of this large family (by English standards) prove to be strong, independent people who are not as unhappy as they pretend. Their fear of having children seems to be their only shared characteristic. The story ends somewhat abruptly, for my taste, but I think this book is every bit as good as the author's earlier book, The Photograph.
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By Elizabeth on 01-31-11
IF you're into plot, this probably isn't for you. I kept waiting for some big revelation or plot development that never occured. It's very well-written and mostly a character study of a family and its individual members. It looks at several different events in the life of the family through eyes of various family members. (I kept expecting the events to be revealed to be "bigger" than they actualy were).