11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Mark Has A Good Story To Tell,
This review is from: According to Mark: A Novel (Hardcover)Penelope Lively has been short listed for the Booker prize for this novel, "According To Mark". It is a story with a subtle message and with deeply developed characters. As with all of Penelope Lively's novels we become involved with and learn to care for these people.
Mark Lamming is writing a biography of author, Gilbert Strong. As part of his work he is invited to Gilbert Strong's home to interview Mr. Strong's granddaughter, Carrie. In the course of this interview he finds that Mr. Strong left two old trunks full of personal papers and correspondence. He also finds a strong attraction to Carrie. This, of it-self, is not a bad thing, except Mark is married to Diane. Diane the driven and sometimes overbearing woman, but who loves Mark deeply. Mark finds himself drawn to Carrie and to the house. He drives from London to the house at least once a week and often stays overnight. In the course of this time he falls in love with Carrie. Carrie is an immature young woman with not much of an ego. She was brought up by an often absent and self-centered mother, and Carrie left home as soon as she could. Carrie appears oblivious to Mark's attraction. She is involved with her gardening business, and she finds her life is all involved in her work.
At one point, Mark believes that interviewing Carrie's mother would be beneficial in examining the life of Gilbert Strong. He invites Carrie to go along on the journey. During the journey the inevitable happens and they make love. Mark is ecstatic, but he also loves his wife. What a quandary. His wife, Diane is a brilliant and intuitive woman and knows something is going on. She makes plans to join Carrie and Mark on the return journey. The journey back to England is an interesting one, and a part of the novel that deserves full attention. Carrie leaves Mark and Diane and goes on her own adventure. Mark finds another person who knows Gilbert Strong, and finds new information that strengthens his feel for the mysterious person. Do the lives of everyone involved resolve to their normal status or do new adventures befall each of them? Penelope Lively often leads us down a path we least expect.
Penelope Lively is a favorite author, and she never disappoints. This book is full of energy and life. We go inside the minds of the characters, and are able to understand their thoughts and actions. This story grabs us. It is an unusual triangle and written with such wit and grace. Highly recommended prisrob