According to Mark

Overview

A respected literary biographer, Mark is working on the life of Gilbert Strong - a writer about whom he thinks he knows everything. Happily married, and apparently dedicated to a life of letters, he nevertheless falls in love with Strong's granddaughter Carrie, a vague and unsophisticated young woman more interested in bedding plants than books or passion. As Mark's obsessions develop over a hot, complicated summer, he begins to understand that nothing is ever what it seems; not Gilbert Strong, and certainly not ...

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1989-03-08 Paperback New New-Mint cover, tight binding, clean text.

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Overview

A respected literary biographer, Mark is working on the life of Gilbert Strong - a writer about whom he thinks he knows everything. Happily married, and apparently dedicated to a life of letters, he nevertheless falls in love with Strong's granddaughter Carrie, a vague and unsophisticated young woman more interested in bedding plants than books or passion. As Mark's obsessions develop over a hot, complicated summer, he begins to understand that nothing is ever what it seems; not Gilbert Strong, and certainly not himself. According to Mark is a witty and moving look at love, literature and the dangers of middle-aged folly.

The story of a middle-aged man's obsession with a younger woman. " A wise comic novel about memory and expectations."--New Yorker.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite its title, the book isn't gospel, nor does its eponymous hero invoke any power higher than middle age for his infatuation with Carrie Summers, the papers of whose renowned grandfather he is researching for a biography. Carrie, a charming, freckled, half-educated maverick, has turned the great man's estate into a garden center and is more interested in the needs of her flowers than to Mark Lamming's importunings. In the event, however, he persuades her to drive with him to France to interview her flighty mother; on the way they make love, an activity in which Carrie participates with pagan-like wholeheartedness. But when Mark's wife joins them, Carrie runs away to Paris, there to meet a man for whom she feels a yearning so uncontrollable that, newly tender and perceptive, she grieves for poor Mark. Thus summarized, this accomplished novel seems little more than a variant on the triangle theme, but its virtues are distinctive. Mark's torment is genuine, Carrie's awkward grace appealing, the situation is handled with a blend of sentiment and fun. Lively (Perfect Happiness, etc.) has the gift of making readers care about her characters; this novel was short-listed for the 1984 Booker Prize. November 15
Library Journal
Lively is a British novelist Treasures of Time, Judgement Day, Perfect Hap piness . In her latest novel, Mark Lam ming is writing the biography of an au thor, Gilbert Strong. He visits the late writer's home as part of his research and meets Carrie, his granddaughter, who runs a garden center there. Mark finds himself unexpectedly attracted to Carrie he's unfortunately already mar ried to domineering Diane. Mark and Carrie take a trip to Franceostensibly to interview Carrie's motherwhich leads to a confrontation between Carrie and Diane. Interspersed with the plot are Mark's musings and research on Strong's mysterious past. Despite a dis appointing ending, Anglophiles will en joy According to Mark. Christine King, SUNY at Stony Brook Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060971991
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/8/1989
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.33 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Penelope Lively

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 other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra's Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours List, and DBE in 2012. Penelope Lively lives in London.

Good To Know

In her interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Lively shared some fun facts about herself:

"I came late to writing -- I was in my late 30s before I wrote anything. The years before that had been busy with small children, and I seem to have fallen into writing almost by accident. Since then, I have never stopped -- books for children to begin with, then a period writing for both adults and children -- short stories also -- then for adults only when the children's books, sadly, left me."

"It has been a busy 30 years, but because writing is a solitary activity and I like the company of others, I have also always had other involvements -- with writers' organizations such as Britain's Society of Authors, with PEN, with the Royal Society of Literature, and, for six years, as a member of the Board of the British Library (the opposite number of the Library of Congress) which I regarded as a great privilege -- what could be more important than the national archive?"

"I have always been an avid user of libraries; like any writer, much of my inspiration comes from life as it is lived -- what you see and hear and experience, but my novels have sprung from some abiding interest -- the operation of memory, the effects of choice and contingency, the conflicting nature of evidence -- and these concerns are fueled by reading: serendipitous and eclectic reading."

"I am first and foremost a reader myself. I don't think I could write if I wasn't constantly reading. I both wind and unwind by reading -- stimulus and relaxation both. I used to love tramping the landscape, and gardening, but arthritis rules out both of those, so I do both vicariously through books. I live in the city now, but feel out of place -- I have always before lived most of the time in the country: I miss wide skies, weather, seasons."

"Never mind, there are compensations, and London is a very different place from the pinched and bomb-shattered place to which I came as a schoolgirl in 1945 -- now it is multicultural, polyglot, vibrant, unpredictable, in a state of constant change but with that bedrock of permanence that an old place always has. I like to escape from time to time -- mainly to West Somerset, where we have a family cottage and I can admire my daughter's garden -- she has the gardening gene in a big way and is far more skilled than I ever was -- bird-watch, walk a bit, talk to people I've known for decades, and see the night sky crackling with the stars that the city blots out."

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 17, 1933
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cairo, Egypt
    1. Education:
      Honors Degree in Modern History, University of Oxford, England, 1955

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