Dancing Fish and Ammonites Summary and Reviews

Dancing Fish and Ammonites

A Memoir

by Penelope Lively

Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively X
Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively
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  • Published Feb 2014
    224 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

"The memory that we live with... is the moth-eaten version of our own past that each of us carries around, depends on. It is our ID; this is how we know who we are and where we have been."

Memory and history have been Penelope Lively's terrain in fiction over a career that has spanned five decades. But she has only rarely given readers a glimpse into her influences and formative years.

Dancing Fish and Ammonites traces the arc of Lively's life, stretching from her 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 archeology, the fragments of the ancients that have accompanied her journey - including a sherd of Egyptian ceramic depicting dancing fish and ammonites found years ago on a Dorset beach. She also writes insightfully about aging and what life looks like from where she now stands.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Although they will long for her next novel, few will regret that she has taken time off to write this unsentimental, occasionally poignant meditation on a long life, mostly well spent." - Kirkus

"Overall, these reflective essays offer a wealth of riches for further study, and help to dispel many of the stereotypes about the aged, from the 'smiling old dear to the grumbling curmudgeon,' which she abashedly admits are frequently ossified in fiction." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Dancing Fish and Ammonites was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Penelope Lively Author Biography

Penelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She subsequently read Modern History at St. Anne's College, Oxford. In 1957 she married Jack Lively (who died in 1998). They had two children, Josephine and Adam. Jack Lively's academic career took the family from Swansea to Sussex and Oxford, and eventually to Warwick University, where he was Professor of Politics.

Lively received the Booker Prize for her novel Moon Tiger and wide acclaim for The Photograph and How It All Began. Lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors. In recognition of her contributions to British literature, she has been appointed Dame Commander ...

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