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.