Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir

Category: Book
By (author): Lively, Penelope
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General
  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary
  HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published: June 2015
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 7.75in x 5.06in x 0.60in
Our Price:
$ 23.25
Availability:
Available: 3-5 days

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Rare personal reflections from "one of our most talented writers" (The New York Times Book Review)

Memory and history have been Penelope Lively's terrain in fiction throughout a career that has spanned five decades. In this "funny, smart, and poignant" (Los Angeles Times) memoir, she offers a glimpse into her influences and formative years, as well as a view of what life looks like from the vantage point of eighty years. Lively traces the arc of her own life, from early childhood in Cairo to boarding school in England to the sweeping social changes of Britain's twentieth century. She reflects on her early love of archaeology, and on the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey. She also takes an intimate look back at a life devoted to books and writes insightfully about aging.
Review Quote*Praise for Dancing Fish and Ammonites

"Buoyant and propulsive . . . Dancing Fish and Ammonites is about growing old, about memory and history, about reading and writing. . . . Lively communicates ideas and experiences with flashes of narrative color: the tins of water in which the feet of her crib stood in childhood, to spare her from Cairo's ants; the layout of a beloved garden; the sight of women in felt hats and gloves as they walked past the bombed-out rubble of wartime Britain."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Engaging . . . Lively's writing shines brightest when her discursive remarks demonstrate the methods and preoccupations that have shaped her fiction."
-The New Yorker

"Funny, smart and poignant . . . Admirers of Penelope Lively's many fine novels will find the same lucid intelligence at work in her elegantly written ‘view from old age.' . . . Memory, history, archaeology, paleontology-for Penelope Lively, they are all part of our individual and collective effort to retrieve lost time. She chronicles her personal engagement in that quest with wit and rue."
-Los Angeles Times

"A collection of well-written essays that draw on Lively's past as she reflects on the present. . . . Lively notes the physical challenges of aging as well as the pleasures she's given up; some with relief, others with regret. She also reveals a sly sense of humor. . . . Her lifelong love affair with books is the topic of "Reading and Writing," where she mines the quirks of her own personal reading habits and library (her fiction is kept in the kitchen) and the glorious news for readers that ‘The stimulus of old-age reading is the realization that taste and response do not atrophy: you are always finding yourself enthusiastic about something you had not expected to like.'"
-Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"A gift . . . witty, gentle-humored, sharp . . . Throughout Lively is a keen observer and an engaging narrator. . . . Subjects that may, at first glance, seem random and somewhat scattershot take on the elegant coherence of a deeply satisfying conversation."
-All Things Considered
Biographical NotePENELOPE LIVELY is an award-winning novelist and author of children's literature. She received the Man Booker Prize for her novel Moon Tiger and wide acclaim for The Photograph, Family Album, and How It All Began. She lives in London.