Oleander, Jacaranda : A Childhood Perceived : A Memoir

Oleander, Jacaranda : A Childhood Perceived : A Memoir

by Penelope Lively
     
 

A poignant and bittersweet memoir from the distinguished British fiction writer Penelope Lively, Oleander, Jacaranda evokes the author's unusual childhood growing up English in Egypt during the 1930s and 1940s. Filled with the birds, animals and planets of the Nile landscape that the author knew as a child, Oleander, Jacaranda follows the young

Overview

A poignant and bittersweet memoir from the distinguished British fiction writer Penelope Lively, Oleander, Jacaranda evokes the author's unusual childhood growing up English in Egypt during the 1930s and 1940s. Filled with the birds, animals and planets of the Nile landscape that the author knew as a child, Oleander, Jacaranda follows the young Penelope from a visit to a fellaheen village to an afternoon at the elegant Gezira Sporting Club, one milieu as exotic to her as the other. Lively's memoir offers us the rare opportunity to accompany a gifted writer on a journey of exploration into the mysterious world of her own childhood.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lively, the Booker prize-winning British author of Moon Tiger , here recalls her childhood in Egypt from the mid-1930s until her parents divorced in 1945 when she was 12. This intriguing memoir of growing up in another culture relies on Lively's perception of experience rather than on a detailed chronology of events. Her father, whom she rarely saw, was a manager at the Bank of Egypt; her mother was taken up in the expatriate social whirl. Lively's upbringing was left to Lucy, a young English woman, who was first her nurse and then her governess. The author's impressionistic portraits of Egypt, Alexandria and Palestine evoke sights and smells that are, in many respects, no longer accessible. Already suffering emotionally from parental neglect, Lively was further traumatized when her return to England caused her to be separated from Lucy. A sad and engaging reminiscence. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Oleander, jacaranda . . . jacaranda, oleander . . . they are the same trees but in reverse order, depending on whether you see them on the journey going or returning. In many ways, this childhood memoir, by the winner of the Booker Prize for her novel Moon Tiger ( LJ 3/15/88), is just such a journey. It is an adult reminiscence, based on ``a headful of brilliant frozen moments'' from the author's 12-year sojourn as a British child in Egypt, Palestine, and Sudan in the 1930s and 1940s. It is also a journey of discovery into the nature of childhood perceptions. The wide, brown Nile, the ebony-skinned Nubians, incense-laden Jerusalem, and the stifling heat of Khartoum are experienced as a child would experience them, with Lively's surogate mother, Lucy, providing a chauvinistic filter. In this book Lively has given a heartrending yet historically fascinating account of a little girl who hardly knew her parents; it is a first-rate demonstration of how a child sees.-- Marie L. Lally, Alabama Sch . of Mathematics & Science, Mobile

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060926229
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/01/1995
Series:
Harper Perennial
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
612,316
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.36(d)

Meet the Author

Penelope Lively was born in 1933 in Cairo and spent her childhood there, moving to England in the last year of World War II. She has written many prizewinning novels and collections of short stories for both adults and children, including the novel Moon Tiger, which won England's prestigious Booker Prize in England in 1987, and most recently Heat Wave. She lives in Oxfordshire and London.

Brief Biography

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

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