A big shabby Victorian suburban house, the smell of raincoats and coq au vin in the hall, the six mugs for the children slung from the kitchen dresser hooks: for destructive Paul, difficult Gina, elegant Sandra, considerate Katie, clever Roger and flighty Clare, Allersmead was the perfect place to grow up. But was it? Now grown-up and off in different directions, one by one the children return to Allersmead, to their home-making mother and aloof writer father and a house that for years has played silent witness to the secrets of a family, and one particular secret of which no one speaks.
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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 and Heat Wave.
Penelope Lively has also written radio and television scripts and has acted as presenter for a BBC Radio 4 program on children's literature. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.From AudioFile:
Set in late-twentieth-century England, this novel will maintain a tight grip on listeners' attention. As the author introduces the family estate of Allersmead and its owners--the Harper family--the story seems straightforward. But quotidian dialogue and description give way to the airing of a family secret and depictions of how it affects each family member. Josephine Bailey makes seemingly effortless switches between characters. In particular, she gives distinct voices to the children and, as the novel progresses, believably changes their voices as they grow up. Bailey also portrays a large number of characters with a variety of accents. Overall, she fully captures the spirit of Lively's novel. R.F. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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