Thursday, January 26, 2012

How It All Began

How It All Began by Penelope Lively, Viking Adult January 2012



...the serendipitous nature of the story is really its allure; the author does a great job of stringing together events into an impressive story that is very enjoyable

 
This story begins with an elderly woman, Charlotte being mugged in London. Following this a cascading series of events that are triggered by the mugging form the basis of the story. A marriage is threatened, an affair discovered, an elderly peer attempts to regain his youthful vigor and importance, an interior designer finds an unlikely business partner, a newly arrived immigrant finds acceptance and love in an unexpected way. Each of these story lines is developed and interspersed through to the end of the story. The author really examines the effect of chance on a number of unconnected lives. I hate to summarize this story with any more detail as the story is the charm of this novel.

The novel is very well written, the dialogue is rich and true. The characters are genuine and for the most part likeable. The serendipitous nature of the story is really its allure; the author does a great job of stringing together events into an impressive story that is very enjoyable. I loved the ending – nothing ambiguous about the fate of these characters, I’ve recently finished a couple of novels with murky endings, so this ending was much appreciated. This is my first Penelope Lively novel, I had never heard of her but clearly she is a well recognized gem of a writer – several Booker short lists and a Booker prize. Lucky me a new author!!

I read a copy of this novel provided by the publisher.

3 comments:

Zibilee said...

I like it when an author takes several narrative strands and ties them into one cohesive story that is formed well and that enlightens and entertains, so I am going to be on the lookout for this book. I am also glad that you were pleased by the ending. I have had the experience of reading books that leave me hanging, and sometimes it really irritates me! Great review today! You've got me really curious!

Susan Bennett said...

This sounds a bit different and quite lively.

Carole said...

This book was different from what I generally read, and a little quirky, but I liked it very much. Not just another run of the mill story.