Nominated by:

Oslo Public Libraries, Norway

Publisher of nominated edition:

Fig Tree, UK

How It All Began

Penelope Lively    

 When . . .

Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter Rose cannot accompany her employer Lord Peters to Manchester, which means his niece Marion has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is . . . just the beginning in the ensuing chain of life-altering events.

In this engaging, utterly absorbing and brilliantly told novel, Penelope Lively shows us how one random event can cause marriages to fracture and heal themselves, opportunities to appear and disappear, lovers who might never have met to find each other and entire lives to become irrevocably changed.

Funny, humane, touching, sly and sympathetic, How It All Began is a brilliant sleight of hand from an author at the top of her game.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Penelope Lively grew up in Egypt but settled in England after the war and took a degree in history at St Anne’s College, Oxford.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors.  She was married to the late Professor Jack Lively, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, and lives in Oxfordshire and London.

Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short story collections for both adults and children.  She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark.  She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.  Her novels include Passing On, shortlisted for the 1989 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, City of the Mind, Cleopatra’s Sister, Heat Wave and her latest, Consequences.  Many of her books, including Going Back, which first appeared as a children’s book, and Oleander, Jacaranda, an autobiographical memoir of her childhood days in Egypt, are published in Penguin.

Penelope Lively has also written radio and television scripts and has acted as presenter for a BBC Radio 4 programme on children’s literature.  She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.

Librarian’s Comments

The greatness in this novel is the fully fleshed out characters. The story shows well how one small, random event can start a chain of events. Good fluid language.

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