A House Unlocked

A House Unlocked

by PenelopeLively (Author)


Penelope Lively has turned her considerable literary talent to non-fiction with "A House Unlocked", a meandering collection of memories inspired by Golsoncott, the Somerset country home occupied by her family for the greater part of the last century. By walking around the rooms of the house (in her mind) and looking at fondly remembered objects and furniture, she recalls the events, customs and people that together paint a slowly shifting picture of English country life in the 20th century. It is at once personal and social - a diary of the house and its occupants, and a memoir of the historical landscape.


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More Information

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 240
Edition: First Edition
Publisher: Viking
Published: 02 Aug 2001

ISBN 10: 0670899542
ISBN 13: 9780670899548

Media Reviews
The Booker-winning novelist Penelope Lively spent much of her childhood in Egypt, but this second installment of her memoirs concentrates on recollecting time spent in her family's country house in Somerset. By taking us back to its original purchase by her grandparents in 1923, she makes the scope of the book almost a survey of the century - and writes with a view to detailing socio-historical changes of wider resonance, rather than to producing straight autobiography or family history. The result is an interestingly unusual mixture, moving almost seamlessly from reflections on objects in the house to accounts of eccentric uncles to the Romantics' 'discovery' of the Quantocks. And from the stays in the house of various refugees (including those from Soviet Russia and London during the Blitz) to changing attitudes concerning childrearing in the 1950s. It's the quality of the writing and Lively's eye for detail that are most engaging in this distinguished and least self-obsessed of memoirs.
Author Bio
Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short story collections for adults and children, including the 1987 Booker Prize for Moon Tiger. She has also won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She is a Fellow of the RoyalSociety of Literature. She was married to the late Professor Jack Lively, has two children and four grandchildren, and lives in London.