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Treasures of Time [Paperback]

Penelope Lively
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Oct 2000

Hugh Paxton was a very important archaeologist and highly influential man. So important that the BBC have decided to make a documentary on his life, focusing on the dig that made him famous. The trouble with digging around in the past, though, is that it disturbs the present as well.

Hugh's beautiful, flighty widow Laura, her prickly daughter Kate, and Kate's charming fiance Tom are each determied, in their own way, to keep the past in its place. But history has a habit of rearing its head. And as the film-makers take over the family home, and begin to delve into Hugh's life, there are unexpected upheavals along the way.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140079327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140079326
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,426,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Penelope Lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors. She was married to the late Professor Jack Lively, has a daughter, a son, three granddaughters and three grandsons, and lives in London. She has written many prize-winning novels and collections of short stories for both adults and children. Moon Tiger won the 1987 Booker Prize. Penelope Lively’s most recent book, Making It Up, is available now in Penguin paperback.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant writing 15 Aug 2010
In this 1979 novel, Penelope Lively deals with memory and time and history -how the past influences the present - and whether it is possible to excavate truth. A BBC producer is making a documentary about a deceased archaeologist, Hugh Paxton. Others involved include Laura, his widow, who is monstrously snobbish and self-centred; Laura's invalid sister who thinks she would have made him a better wife; Laura and Hugh's prickly daughter Kate and her fiance Tom, a PhD student from a northern working-class background.
Penelope Lively's writing is clever, elegant, often drily witty ... and yet strangely unengaging. The Zandra Rhodes jacket - on the new Penguin Decades edition - is far more appealing than the novel inside.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read 3 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
A Great Read: a typical Penelope Lively, great characters, complexities within relationships of the main characters,very visual, well developed desciprions
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much digging 1 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The theme of this novel is digging up the past both in archaeological terms and in modern human relationships terms. There are several strong convincing characters but the story leads nowhere and almost every page shouts out the theme "digging" so much that it becomes boring and not very enjoyable to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written 20 May 2008
By algo41 - Published on
While one of Lively's earlier novels, "Treasures of Time" is beautifully written. Lively brings wit and intelligence to comments on culture and character, and is also equally adept at descriptions of nature and settings. The comments are made by her characters, and are consistent with who they are. Lively's characters are apt to switch their thoughts from the present to the past and back without notice, but also without awkwardness or confusion.

What stood out in this novel was how major decisions may be built up by the slow accretion of experience and reflection. I am thinking primarily of Tom's decision to leave Kate, but also of his career change.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice understated novel, about a marriage's secrets 28 Jun 2006
By Richard R. Horton - Published on
This book, from 1979, concerns the ramifications of the production of a TV program (okay, television programme) about Hugh Paxton, a 5 years dead archaeologist who had made a major discovery about ancient England. Hugh's daughter, Kate, and her fiance, Tom (who is an historian studying for his thesis a 17th century antiquarian/archaeologist) come down to Hugh's old home to visit Hugh's widow, Laura, and her crippled sister, Nellie. Laura turns out to be a truly awful woman, portrayed with catty gusto in a way which seems unique to women writers. (If a man wrote of Laura the way Lively does he would be called a raging misogynist.) Anyway, Laura is terrible to both Kate and Nellie, very controlling but also incredibly stupid, and a raging bore to boot. Kate is emotionally stunted, presumably partly due to Laura, while Tom is a bit vague and unfocussed. Nellie, it turns out, was another archaeologist, and in love with Hugh, and on the evidence Hugh probably (but we can't be quite sure) carried on an affair with her after his marriage to Laura soured.

Over several months, the television programme production progresses, Tom works toward his degree, his relationship with Kate hits some rocks, while secrets about Hugh and Nellie and his discoveries seem ready to burst dangerously into the open. The resolution is emotionally sensible, though a bit understated -- it seemed to me that some guns shown on the mantel were left unfired. But it's a very nice book, and all the main characters come through very strongly, though I did think at times the portrait of Laura seemed almost of necessity a caricature. Certainly I will be reading more Lively.
6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of wonder 21 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on
A truely great work of understated beauty by a writer of grace and style.
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