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Publisher's Summary

Booker Prize¿winning novelist Penelope Lively's latest masterpiece opens with a snapshot: Kath, before her death, at an unknown gathering, holding hands with a man who is not her husband. The photograph is in an envelope marked "DON'T OPEN - DESTROY." But Kath's husband does not heed the warning, embarking on a journey of discovery that reveals a tight web of secrets within marriages, between sisters, and at the heart of an affair. Kath, with her mesmerizing looks and casual ways, moves like a ghost through the memories of everyone who knew her, and a portrait emerges of a woman whose life cannot be understood without plumbing the emotional depths of the people she touched.Propelled by the author's signature mastery of narrative and psychology, The Photograph is Lively at her very best, the dazzling climax to all she has written before.
©2003 Penelope Lively; (P)2003 HighBridge Company
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Critic Reviews

"An ingenious premise for a novel and Penelope Lively...spins it out with expert skill." (The Washington Post)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Rebecca on 09-15-06

good but sad

Beautifully written, this book explores how, whilst we have only one life, everyone will have different versions of what we are like, and who we are. Our inner worlds and our public worlds can be miles apart, as can our presentation of ourselves to different audiences. If you want a gentle listen, this is a good book to download, however this is a very sad book, so if youre in need of a bit of uplifting this isnt perhaps the best choice.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Paul on 10-22-05

Subtle and entertaining

Lively's story, and the characters in it, revolve around a deceased woman who remains something of a mystery as the characters reveal more and more of themselves as the story moves forward. The discovery of a rather unfortunate photo starts a chain reaction in the lives of the deceased's family and friends. Each chapter is from the perspective of a different character, which is reminiscent of Billiards at Half Past Nine by Heinrich Boll, and the same events are described by different characters in a manner reminiscent of Rashomon. Note too that Lively's characters have professional callings that evoke their roles in the story. For example, the widower who discovers the photo is a landscape archaeologist, and in this story he's got to dig through a surface life he took for granted to discover what happened years before. Masterful, highly recommended.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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