Passing On

Passing On

4.5 2
by Penelope Lively
     
 

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Booker-Prize winning author Penelope Lively is that rare writer who goes from strength to strength in book after perfectly assured book. In Passing On, she applies her distinctive insight and consummate artistry to the subtle story of a domineering and manipulative mother's legacy to her children. With their mother's death, Helen and Edward, both middle-aged and

Overview


Booker-Prize winning author Penelope Lively is that rare writer who goes from strength to strength in book after perfectly assured book. In Passing On, she applies her distinctive insight and consummate artistry to the subtle story of a domineering and manipulative mother's legacy to her children. With their mother's death, Helen and Edward, both middle-aged and both unmarried, are left to face the ramifications of their mother's hold on their lives for all of these years. Helen and Edward slowly learn to accept what has been lost in their own lives and embrace what can yet be retrieved. "The richest and most rewarding of her novels." - The Washington Post Book World

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Greystones is a moldy, drafty house of no great distinction located in the equally nondescript English town of Spaxton. The domineering and cantankerous Dorothy Glover has finally passed away, leaving her middle-aged progeny, Helen and Edward, to examine their lives, both past and future. It's a subtle plot and one that does well with Lively's ( The Road to Lichfield ) gently assured style. By revealing developments through small details--the discarded dishrags that mark the beginning of a relationship and the glimpse of a watch that signals its end--she delicately delineates the impact of love, scandal and turmoil. On the rare occasion when Lively gives reign to sweeping statements, as when the dramatic Louise comments on motherhood (``At the moments you wish you were shot of the whole thing you know perfectly well that it's precisely because you couldn't endure to be without it, now you know about it, that you've got to go through all this''), her writing doesn't quite ring true. But such instances are rare in this consistently engrossing tale. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Having won both the Booker Prize (Moon Tiger, LJ 5/15/88) and the Carnegie Medal (The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, 1973), Lively has already proven herself to be one of Britain's finest authors. Passing On simply burnishes this reputation. Once again, she develops her favorite theme: the power of the past to control the present. In this case, the past is a malevolent mother who is being lowered into her grave at the beginning of the book. But if Helen and Edward, middle-aged brother and sister, think that their mother has lost her stranglehold on them by dying, they are wrong. Through Helen's intelligent perception we watch as she and Edward struggle valiantly to lead normal lives. Sheila Mitchell, a respected actress in British theater, television, and radio, reads the story with accomplished skill. As Mitchell lowers her voice slightly to become Edward or speaks softly as Helen, listeners will swear they are sitting with them at the kitchen table in that tomb of a house. In fact, the reading is so convincing that it seems almost like an invasion of privacy to be listening at all. Highly recommended.-Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802136268
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
777,879
Product dimensions:
5.55(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.68(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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Passing On 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book started slowly, but I got really interested in the characters by the middle of the book and couldn't put it down. I feel like any "adult child" would be able to relate to these characters - or anyone who has an overbearing parent. I liked how they eventually found confidence and started to like themselves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel has the weight and truth of an actual experience. When I put down the book after reading it I wasn't sure if I were one of the characters or not. This is the depth of the writing. These characters will live on in my mind and soul and imagination for many years to come. Brava, Penelope!