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Family Album (Hardcover)

Author:  Penelope Lively
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Learn more about Family Album:

Format: Hardcover Large Print
ISBN-10: 1602856036
ISBN-13: 9781602856035
Sku: 211988133
Publish Date: 12/1/2009
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.75H x 5.75L x 1.25T
Pages:  358
Age Range:  NA
See more in Literary
From the Publisher:
Having dedicated herself to styling her family in accordance with her ideals, mother of six Alison finds her illusions wavering in the face of her husband's distance, long-repressed secrets and her children's respective confrontations with painful truths. By the Booker-winning author of Moon Tiger. (General fiction)
Booker-winner Penelope Lively's 16th novel is a kaleidoscopic vision of a emotionally fractured family. On the surface, the Harper family was an idyllic one: mother Allison was a doting old-fashioned housewife, and her six children grew up with everything they needed on the large Allersmead estate, their needs tended to by the au pair, Ingrid, who lived at the house for 30 years. Now grown, however, the children have drifted apart, and return home infrequently. In a series of flashbacks and memories, Lively explores the various ways in which the Harper family was not all that it seemed, from the bitterness of Allison and her husband's relationship, to the subtle favoritism they showed their various children, to the children's own unpleasant games, played down in the basement out of the light of day. Though fragmented and mostly plotless, FAMILY ALBUM is an immaculately constructed work of fiction that devilishly dissects the myth of the happy family. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.
Author Bio
Penelope Lively
Lively had no formal education until she was 12, at which point she went to boarding school and hated it because of the emphasis it placed on sports. At Oxford she studied modern history, and in 1957 married a professor of political science, Jack Lively. She has two children. She began writing children's books in 1970; her first novel for adults was published in 1977.


"Penelope Lively is acute on the detritus and mess of domestic life....Her creation of a chaotic, living family home is pitch perfect, but what she is really discussing here is the idea of the home after the family has left it, and the family when it is no longer together under one roof." - Gill Hornby 08/01/2009

"Less a family saga than an impressionistic group portrait, the novel is underpinned by Lively's interest in how a family that shares a home and a set of experiences chooses to react and remember....[T]here's essential craftsmanship at the core of this writer's work and a steadiness that outshines the evanescent." - Elsbeth Lindner 11/22/2009

"Although this little book can't compete with [Lively's] Booker-winning MOON TIGER or her fictionalized anti-memoir CONSEQUENCES, it's another winning demonstration of her wit; every wry laugh is the sound of a little hope being strangled." - Ron Charles 11/18/2009

"[H]aunting....The real sadness at the heart of the story, the event no one faces for years, isn't meant to be a mystery that's dramatically revealed. Instead, it's the sort of thing everyone in the family knows about, in that vague, just-beneath-consciousness way that one knows what one isn't supposed to know. It's either ignored or denied or manipulated....I don't think Lively intends for the secret to provide narrative tension. Rather, it's the slow, inexorable way everyone comes to acknowledge the event that makes it quietly devastating." - Dominique Browning 11/29/2009

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