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Moon Tiger: Complete & Unabridged [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio Cassette]

Penelope Lively
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan 1988

Winner of the Booker Prize, Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger is the tale of a historian confronting her own, personal history, unearthing the passions and pains that have defined her life. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Anthony Thwaite.

Claudia Hampton, a beautiful, famous writer, lies dying in hospital. But, as the nurses tend to her with quiet condescension, she is plotting her greatest work: 'a history of the world ... and in the process, my own'. Gradually she re-creates the rich mosaic of her life and times, conjuring up those she has known. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool, conventional daughter; and Tom, her one great love, both found and lost in wartime Egypt. Penelope Lively's Booker Prize-winning novel weaves an exquisite mesh of memories, flashbacks and shifting voices, in a haunting story of loss and desire.

Penelope Lively (b. 1933) was born in Cairo. 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 novels include Passing On, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister and Heat Wave, and many are published by Penguin.

If you enjoyed Moon Tiger, you might like L.P. Hartley's The Go-Between, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'It's a fine, intelligent piece of work, the kind that Leaves its traces in the air long after you've put it away'

Anne Tyler

'Funny, thoughtful ... a perfect example of the Lively art'

Mark Lawson, Independent

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (Jan 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850896631
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850896630
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 17.3 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,875,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Leaves its traces in the air long after you've put it away (Anne Tyler)

A complex tapestry of great subtlety. Lively writes so well, savouring the words as she goes (Daily Telegraph)

Very clever: evocative, thought-provoking and hangs on the mind long after it is finished (Literary Review) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Penelope Lively was born in Cairo in 1933. 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 novels include Passing On, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister and Heat Wave, and many are published by Penguin.

Anthony Thwaite has published fourteen books of poems, including most recently A Move in the Weather (2003). He has taught in universities throughout the world, worked as a BBC radio producer, and is a former editor of The Listener and New Statesman. He is married to the biographer Ann Thwaite and in 1990 he received an OBE for services to poetry.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star writing 16 Aug 2010
By Isola
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Moon Tiger is the brand name of the mosquito repellent which slowly burns throughout the balmy nights of Claudia Hampton's brief affair in Egypt with a young tank commander, Tom Southern. And this is the emotional core of Penelope Lively's award winning novel as her protagonist lies dying in a London hospital bed. Once a beautiful, intelligent, unconventional historian & former war correspondent, fate helps turn Claudia into an egoistic person and callous mother. For this book is not only about love, but about war and the way it transforms whoever you were, into whoever you've become - and how you are individually viewed by others.

Now a cantankerous old patient with failing consciousness, Claudia Hampton's mind moves randomly across time and historical events to reconstruct the strata of her life. The author presents her story in an unusual way, which I found a little difficult to follow at first. Some of the narrative is told in the past tense and some in the present tense, and it skips from 1st to 3rd person; it also alternates narrative voices. I think this 200 page novel benefits a second reading; "I'm writing a history of the world," she says. And the hands of the nurse are arrested for a moment...... "Well, my goodness" ...... "Upsy a bit dear, there's a good girl - then we'll get you a nice cup of tea."

This moving, poignant story that captures the last thoughts of a dying woman is a compelling read and a well deserved Booker Prize winner. I always enjoy Penelope Lively's understated way of writing, but for some unknown reason I have only just read 'Moon Tiger' over the weekend. I loved it - and this haunting evocation of love and loss must surely be her finest work.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly written novel 21 Mar 2010
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
I didn't really expect to like this book, but decided to give it a go on the strength of it having won the Booker Prize. Rarely have my expectations been so strongly proven wrong. I expected from the blurb that it would be depressing (the main character is an elderly woman dying in hospital) - it is not at all. I imagined it would be dull and fragmented - but it is neither.

So how can I describe what Moon Tiger is? It is a truly beautiful written story, the language is just so nicely constructed. Every sentence is exactly as it should be. It evokes a vivid sense of place and time, and also captures something harder to describe - emotions, sensations. I found it utterly absorbing and it is one of those stories that alters your mood and mindset just by reading even a small fragment.

The principal character, a once beautiful, firecely intelligent and very strong minded woman, is never a figure of pity or sorrow even though she is at the end of her life. She is often dislikeable, as she tells her story, yet always fascinating, vivid and very real. The way she eclipses and affects the other characters around her is shown through both her and their recollections. Unlike many books that mix different narrators, in Moon Tiger this never leads to confusion, and always seems to be the right way to tell the story. Likewise the jumping around in time - something which often irritates me in a book - never became confused or annoying.

So all in all, a masterful piece of work. One of those books that you should just read for the simple pleasure of it!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful imagery and heartfelt emotions 23 April 2003
By A Customer
I read this book because it was a Booker Prize winner. I love this book because it's deep beyond words. I found it incredibly moving. The lyrical way Ms. Lively blends the past with the present is amazing. In the end you feel you've lived life right along side the main character, Claudia. She has become at once a relative you never knew you had. Her thoughts and fears take hold of you and despite your feelings about her choices in life, you care about her and are moved. The detailed historical references and incredible imagery are not to be missed.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Incredible 2 Jan 2008
I always loved the cover of this book and got it out of the library with every intention of reading three or four times before I actually did read it. Thank goodness I did, is all I can say!
Claudia's 'kaleidoscopic history' is beautifully recounted by the dying woman, loved and hated by those around her, slipping seamlessly between past and present. Every character feels human and alive, and even though there are aspects of Claudia's story that we know (without being told) pretty much from the outset, you can't help wishing that things would be different. Despite this, I just know that this story would be half as good if any detail was changed. I think the thing that makes it the most poignant is that this is such a vibrant life, and yet the nurse has to ask the doctor 'Was she somebody?' It's as though Claudia has already died, and I felt to a large extent that she had, because the really vital Claudia was left behind with the characters who died before her, and it's just a shadow lying in the hospital bed.
This is a beautiful story of life and love, my favourite book of all time (which is certainly saying something). Try Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier if you like this, I thought there were a few similarities.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Moon Tiger moves between different countries effortlessly, with an engaging love story set against the exotic background of Egypt and also makes interesting use of shifts in time between the narrator as an old woman remembering the past and the young woman she was then. This is a novel that makes use of all the senses in its evocative scene settings - you feel as though you have been to the locations she describes.The story unfolds gradually and satisfyingly - by the end of the book one has the sense of having completed a journey - a journey which gives us greater insight into how love can resonate through time. In the first paragraph we are told that this is to be "a history of the world" and so it is - the narrator's world and the people who have inhabited it from her youth up, told with sensitivity, humour and compassion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 19 days ago by semzw
3.0 out of 5 stars A well written but somehow superficial novel
I feel oddly ambigious towards this book.
I have only just finished reading it and yet it is receding from me already, leaving no particular mark. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mme Suzanne Lageard
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected joy
I had never read anything by Penelope Lively and simply found her in a list of past Booker Prize winners. I don't know how I missed her. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A discovery
I had never read anything by Penelope Lively until this book. What a surprise. I was not expecting such a well crafted and eloquent piece of writing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S L Craig
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic insight into desert warfare
Claudia, an aged historian and war correspondent, recalls her life as she lies terminally ill in hospital. Read more
Published 3 months ago by puddleglum
5.0 out of 5 stars Moon Tiger Penelope Lively
A superbly crafted book which I found both challenging and rewarding. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in the closing stages of a life.
Published 3 months ago by Fr. Andj Lavender
5.0 out of 5 stars A history of the world in one life...
This beautiful book is a history of the world according to one extraordinary individual, Claudia Hampton. A wonderful blend of romance and reflection, pathos and philosophy. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Goddard
1.0 out of 5 stars Plotless, soulless and forgettable
This was first recommended to me some years ago, so was delighted when I finally got round to reading it. However, I found the book very difficult to get into. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. Meadows
3.0 out of 5 stars Moon Tiger - Penelope Lively Did I miss something?
Not quite sure what it was trying to say. Brilliant, technical writing but lacking a plot.
Irritating cover photo featuring the object in the title; the photographer or... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Patricia Cammish
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual account of an extraordinary woman's life - a fiction.
Claudia is a free-thinking woman of dogmatic determination and liberal ideas, long before “Women’s Lib” became commonplace in the twentieth century. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Brenda Young
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