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Moon Tigerby Penelope Lively
Booker Prize winner, 1987
Synopses & Reviews
Penelope Lively won Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for this deeply moving, elegantly structured novel. Elderly, uncompromising Claudia Hampton lies in a London hospital bed with memories of life fluttering through her fading consciousness. An author of popular history, Claudia proclaims she's carrying out her last project: a history of the world. This history turns out to be a mosaic of her life, her own story tangled with those of her brother, her lover and father of her daughter, and the center of her life, Tom, her one great love found and lost in war-torn Egypt. Always the independent woman, often with contentious relationships, Claudia's personal history is complex and fascinating. As people visit Claudia, they shake and twist the mosaic, changing speed, movement, and voice, to reveal themselves and Claudia's impact on their world.
"This haunting evocation of loss is Lively's finest achievement yet." Library Journal
"A powerful, moving and beautifully wrought novel about the ways in which lives are molded by personal memory and the collective past." Boston Globe
"It pulls us in; it engages us and saddens us. It is also unexpectedly funny.... It leaves its traces in the air long after you've put it away." New York Times Book Review
"Winner of the coveted Booker Prize, Moon Tiger is 'a novel of exceptional intelligence and depth, by one of England's finest writers.' "Publishers Weekly
"Emotionally, Moon Tiger is kaleidoscopic, deeply satisfying. The all too brief encounter between Claudia and Tom will surely rate as one of the most memorable of contemporary fictional affairs. This is one of the best novels I have ready for years." Telegraph The London Sunday
The elderly Claudia Hampton, a best-selling author of popular history; lies alone in a London hospital bed. Memories of her life still glow in her fading consciousness, but she imagines writing a history of the world. Instead, Moon Tiger is her own history, the life of a strong, independent woman, with its often contentious relations with family and friends. At its center — forever frozen in time, the still point of her turning world — is the cruelly truncated affair with Tom, a British tank commander whom Claudia knew as a reporter in Egypt during World War II.
The last thoughts of a dying writer are captured in this intelligent novel by Booker Prize-winner Penelope Lively. The moving and poignant story of life as a writer, historian, and mother ends as a saga of unfufilled love.
Claudia was in Cairo as a war correspondent during the 1940 desert campaign. On a trip to the front, she met a young tank officer, Tom, with whom she fell in love. Their affair is remembered against the background of the desert war, the swimming pools and nightclubs of Cairo, the Moon Tiger that burns beside their bed in the Winter Palace in Luxor. Tom was killed; Claudia, pregnant, miscarried. Now, as an old woman, she thinks about this man who is forever half her age, who was picked off by history.
About the Author
Penelope Lively is the author of over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Booker Prize-winning novel Moon Tiger and the Whitbread Award-winning novel A Stitch in Time, as well as numerous children's books.
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