Moon Tiger Paperback – 6 May 2010
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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)
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, Consequences and Family Album. Penelope Lively lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great novel. Claudia Hampton, now a 76-year-old woman, lays dying in her hospital bed. She recalls episodes of her history (sometimes dovetailing with world history) and the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dave Gilmour's cat
The book was really well written which made it a pleasure to read. There was a believable life story with a beautiful love story within it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by CW
Interesting and original. The main character is feisty and sharp, not very likeable but you can easily sympathise with her. This is a page turner and it is very well written.Published 8 months ago by Joe Edge T
A reread which I found hard to finish, not something I would normally say of Penelope Lively's books.Published 9 months ago by S. A. Griffiths
I really enjoyed listening to the acerbic, opinionated voice of Claudia, as she contemplates her life and her place in some of the major events of the 20th century from her death... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Big Vern