Family Album Paperback – 27 May 2010
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Lively immediately plunges us into an entirely convincing world of bustling family life...exceptionally well observed and gloriously enjoyable...this should be rated as one of her most impressive works (Guardian)
One of those ridiculously simple, ridiculously readable novels whose artistry only becomes apparent when you put it down with a sign of regret, having devoured it in one sitting...Lively still displays an economy and an elegance that put younger writers to shame (Sunday Telegraph)
Lively's brilliance is of the creeping kind. There is a sense of formality, which falls away as the novel gains pace and builds towards an unforeseen end. She is particularly good at bending language to make it fit her cool and clear voice...Lively succeeds brilliantly in getting a hold on the climate of family life. Slowly we absorb the details that get lost in the bluster and flurry until we are so drawn in, so tightly contained in the dynamics of this one, that the end, when it comes, is simply devastating (The Times)
A pleasure to read, hugely enjoyable, consistently absorbing, hilarious (Independent)
An involving emotional drama and an insightful examination of changing family values (Easy Living)
The complexities and silences of family life are intelligently and subtly explored...a very engaging novel, continuously interesting and often moving (Scotsman)
Gorgeous (David Vann Guardian Books of the Year)
Sympathetic and observant, Lively moves fluidly between present-tense set-piece scenes and silent monologues, placing the novel's revelations where they will be most effective, and allowing implications - about marriage, feminism and personal ambition - to blossom slowly (Sunday Times)
Penelope Lively at her best, sharp-eyed but sympathetic, deftly steering the reader from one point of view to another. This novel should delight her regular readers and ensnare new ones (Evening Standard)
A very readable, well-paced novel peopled with Lively's customary immaculately observed and impeccably rounded characters (Independent on Sunday)
Lively skilfully mingles past and present, as she peels away the layers to uncover a family secret of which no one speaks...Lively's astute skewering of family relations reverberates in the mind long afterwards (Daily Mail)
Lively plays her sleight of hand with admirable dexterity. The dialogue is pitch-perfect, the writing crisp and the humour wonderfully dry (Tatler)
Gripping. An intelligent look at family relationships and the knock-on effects of past events on the present. It's an absorbing tale of mystery and intrigue that will leave you wondering what lies behind even the nicest façade (Woman & Home)
A deeply satisfying, eloquent family-fabric novel (Good Housekeeping)
About the Author
Penelope Lively has written many prize-winning novels for adults and children. They include: The Road To Lichfield, According To Mark, Moon Tiger (which won the 1987 Booker Prize), Heat Wave, Spiderweb, The Photograph, Making It Up and Consequences. Penelope Lively lives in London.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Alison, an earth mother, and Charles, a scholarly and detached husband live at Allersmead, together with their children, 4 girls and 2 boys, plus Ingrid, the au pair. Eventually the children fly the nest, leaving only Paul, the feckless first born still in residence. Although the others fleetingly (and reluctantly) return from time to time, they are all brought together through family circumstances. The author doesn't seem to go to any lengths to camouflage the 'skeleton in the cupboard', which I easily guessed early on, but I can't help feeling Lively is hinting at another, possibly darker secret than the one exposed. I know this isn't her style, so maybe I have just 'misread' between the lines!
Regardless, this beautifully orchestrated story of the English middle classes from the 1970s to present day is so convincingly told as to make the reader sigh, smile or cringe! The past and present narratives are smoothely interwoven and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this novel.
Very small quibbles - Ingrid the au pair was rather a cold stereotype Scandinavian, which I noticed because a lot of my relations are Danish and all different from each other! And it irritated me that we never found out if she was actually Danish or Swedish. Also when Katie flies up from Boston to visit Roger in Toronto and tells him how she longs for a child and has tried everything, even IVF, it is unconvincing that he, a doctor, does not already know about her having had IVF. IVF is a complicated long-drawn out medical procedure, at least it was in my family, and it is not believable that she would not have consulted her brother (in the same continent as herself) while deciding whether to embark on it; that's what brothers who are doctors are for! Oh and Martin doesn't go to the funeral - I hardly think that a meeting of Senate would be enough to stop him - even if he were the Vice Chancellor himself, he would have a deputy and a family funeral would override Senate; unless Martin was looking for an excuse to miss the funeral, of course?Read more ›
This is a subtle, thoughtful novel - family secrets are gradually brought to light and there are crises to be faced and reflected upon but there are no earth-shaking events or melodrama. It's an exploration of family - what does it mean? How do we define it, and in turn how does it define us? - and of memory. The family in turn share particular memories from their differing perspectives; some come unbidden, reluctantly, sparked by a chance remark, some are hazy and indistinct, others are fully formed and feel as fresh as when they were first experienced. The grown-up children are left pondering why they have all done their best to escape from Allersmead and their unusual trio of elders - their emotional, smothering mother Alison, their distant sarcastic father Charles and the long term au pair Ingrid, who is tied to the family in deeper, more complicated ways than mere employment.
Penelope Lively's elegant prose is always a pleasure to read, and unlike some other reviewers I found the large cast of characters convincing and compelling. Lively's dissection of family dynamics is astute and perceptive, prompting questions that linger in the mind after the novel is over; as in real life, not all of them are answered - but then people never truly know each other, however close they may be.
This is not perhaps the author's finest work but it's still very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Warm, absorbing and realistic story of human frailty and family bonds.Published 4 months ago by VANESSA SINCLAIR
Penelope Lovely never lets you down. Believable characters and involving storyline. Really enjoyed this book.Published 6 months ago by Goldilocks
This novel really is a family album: a series of almost vignette-like scenes strung together, written from the various viewpoints of the different characters, to make what turns... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Frances Stott
PL writes beautifully and some of this book was really poignant. But overall I thought it erred towards twee with too many casual generalisations about an overly simplified family. Read morePublished 14 months ago by H
I found the first half of this book engaging and witty but it then began to go off in seemingly unrelated tangents leading nowhere in particular. Read morePublished 15 months ago by John Bath
Penelope Lively is a good writer and this book is an interesting and enjoyable read which falls short of her best. Read morePublished 16 months ago by hextol
Allersmead is a large Edwardian house which was once overflowing with children. Alison and Charles have lived there for years with their 6 children and Au Pair, Ingrid, who never... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Debra F