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Making It Upby Penelope Lively
Synopses & Reviews
Authors of fiction are often asked,“How much of what you write comes from your own life” This is especially the case for Penelope Lively, whose celebrated works such as The Photograph and the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger ring so true that they seem to tread that fine line between fact and fiction.
Making It Up is Livel‛s engrossing and deftly constructed response. What if her famil‛s escape from Egypt during World War II had a different outcome? What would her life have been like if sh‛d become pregnant at eighteen? Or if she had married someone else?
As Lively weaves through very plausible hesitations, choices, and definitive moments of a life, she also offers a meditation on the nature of fate, destiny, and choice. An examination of those junctures when a split-second decision can change everything, Making It Up is a striking testament to Livel‛s distinctive gifts and a rare opportunity to glimpse how real life can inspire great fiction.
"In this engrossing, perverse challenge to genre — 'an anti-memoir' — Booker Award novelist Lively (Moon Tiger, 1987) explores the road not taken. What if her family, evacuating Egypt during WWII, had traveled to South Africa rather than Palestine? What if a date that ended chastely had led to unwed motherhood? What if her husband-to-be had been captured in Korea? What if that other Penelope had taken up with Achilles? What if Lively, who eventually became a writer, had, as a student, gone on an archeological dig? 'This book is fiction,' Lively warns. The narratives are inventions, rendered by an omniscient voice, framed by brief, evocative autobiographical passages, and peopled by non-Penelopes. Lively achieves 'the authenticity of fiction' in their credibility, but she lived none of these alternative lives. Writers and would-be writers will be intrigued to observe the transformation of life into literature. Readers may enjoy wrestling with questions of choice and chance in human affairs, or they may settle for a series of neatly crafted tales. The vividly imagined lives stir up questions far more thought provoking than the simple 'what if?' As Lively so elegantly demonstrates, 'The paths do not so much fork as flourish.' Agent, Emma Sweeny. (On sale Oct. 24)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
New from the award-winning author of "Moon Tiger" comes a masterly crafted exploration of the myriad answers to the question, "What if . . ."
Hailed by critics as a benchmark in a career full of award-winning achievements, Making It Up is Penelope Lively's answer to the oft-asked question, "How much of what you write comes from your own life?" What if Lively hadn't escaped from Egypt, her birthplace, at the outbreak of World War II? What would her life have been like if she'd married someone else? From a hillside in Italy to an archaeological dig, the author explores the stories that could have been hers, fashioning a sublime dance between reality and imagination that confirms her reputation as a singular talent.
About the Author
Penelope Lively is the author of numerous award-winning novels, including the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger. Her writing has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a member of PEN, and a former chairman of the Society of Authors. She was awarded the CBE in 2002.
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