Start reading City of the Mind on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
City of the Mind

City of the Mind [Kindle Edition]

Penelope Lively
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.31 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.68 (52%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £4.31  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £6.29  
Audio, Cassette, Audiobook --  
Kindle Summer Sale: Over 500 Books from £0.99
Have you seen the Kindle Summer Sale yet? Browse selected books from popular authors and debut novelists, including new releases and bestsellers. Learn more

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Description


A glorious novel (Observer)

The descriptions of the London Blitz are achingly real (Sunday Telegraph)

Well crafted, complex, fascinating (Time Out)

Bold and beautiful, often witty, hopeful, enriching (Scotsman)

Product Description

City of the Mind is the second novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively.

'This is the city in which everything is simultaneous. There is no yesterday, nor tomorrow, merely weather, and decay, and construction.'

In London's changing heartland, architect Matthew Halland is aware of how the past and the present blend. It stirs memories of his boyhood, the early years of his daughter Jane and the failed marriage that he has almost put behind him. Here too is the London of prehistory, of Georgian elegance, of the Blitz. But Matthew is occupied with constructing a new future for London in Docklands, and with it he begins to forge new beginnings of his own.

'A glorious novel' Observer

'The descriptions of the London Blitz are achingly real' Sunday Telegraph

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2122 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (27 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,813 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A CHALLENGING READ 17 May 2011
Ambitiously the novel explores the intermingling of past, present and future - as indicated by its cover, a little girl contemplating the skeleton of a dinosaur.

Architect Matthew Halland loves London and is fascinated by all its reminders of long ago. He, more than most, is aware how the city is likely to evolve. In his eight year old daughter Jane he recognizes contributions made by himself and previous generations. She represents what is to come, everything a continuing process. Important to both is the exploration of the places around them - visits to the Natural History Museum and the Planetarium helping to show how mankind fits in to the overall scheme of things.

No ordinary novel this, but a conglomeration of images and memories. Full concentration is needed amidst all the travelling back and forth. Outstanding are those graphic reminders of the Blitz, harrowing depiction of what then was endured. Happier are the evocative descriptions of London landmarks, Covent Garden especially.

Yes, a climatic showdown with unscrupulous property developer Rutter would have greatly pleased, but that is not what the book is about. Instead it forever reminds us everybody and everything are in a transitional stage, the present enhanced by respect for the past which, in turn, may lead to a worthy future.

To be honest, I struggled a bit - at times more than a little confused. I am glad, though, I persevered - the effort rewarded and thoughts provoked.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good novel by this author 19 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked this novel for various reasons. One reason was the overarching theme of London, its ever changing townscape, its people, its variety: like a kaleidoscope being swivelled back and forwards. This multifariousness mirrored Matthew's moods and days, both emotional and businesslike. It was also a subtle novel, with both the burgeoning romance and the problems with the rogue developer never overdone. Matthew's relationship with his daughter was also very well handled as was Lively's depiction of the child's personality. Finally, as with her 'Moon Tiger' a welcome lack of sentimentality.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One mans journey, rich in thoughts and life 21 Mar 2001
Our "hero" is an succesful architect with a failed marriage, one daughter and plenty of emotional baggage. The writer takes us on a journey through the city, viewed through the eyes of the architect as we move from prehistory to now, via Victoria and the Blitz.
The descriptions of the bombing runs on London during the forties, and the quest for the north west passage during the 19th century, are so real and so well written, that all you have to do is close your eyes to be there.
Whilst the present day of the book is a Jackson Pollocks' of emotions, painted with wit and vigour. The canvas being the building of Docklands, divorce and love over lunchtime.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rather beautiful and poetic Londoners' book 14 Nov 2013
By Jill
This is not a shallow 'airport novel', it takes time to read but is very rewarding especially if you know London and have been struck by how 4 dimensional it is. The 4th dimension is of course time. Penelope Lively scatters glimpses of past Londons and past Londoners' lives throughout a story about an architect set in 1989 (which Londoners will know was the year before the property crash).

A substantial amount of the book consists of the reflections and dreams of the central character Matthew as he goes about his daily life in London with those reflections often touching on the different experiences of characters living in the same place but at different times and how personal associations mean that two people can visit the same place or look at the same thing and react very differently.

It is a thoughtful, human and ultimately rather uplifting novel.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category