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Pack of Cards: And Other Stories
     

Pack of Cards: And Other Stories

by Penelope Lively
 

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In Pack of Cards, Penelope Lively introduces the reader to slivers of the everyday world that are not always open to observation, as she delves into the minutiae of her characters' lives. Whether she writes about a widow on a visit to Russia, a small boy's consignment to boarding school, or an agoraphobic housewife, Penelope Lively takes the reader past the

Overview

In Pack of Cards, Penelope Lively introduces the reader to slivers of the everyday world that are not always open to observation, as she delves into the minutiae of her characters' lives. Whether she writes about a widow on a visit to Russia, a small boy's consignment to boarding school, or an agoraphobic housewife, Penelope Lively takes the reader past the closed curtains, through the locked door, into a world that seems at first mundane and then at second glance, proves to be uniquely memorable.

Editorial Reviews

Jay Parini
Lively writes beautifully, with meticulous detachment. The stories ...are uniformly entertaining and, often, inspired.
The New York Times Book Review, 1989
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the course of ``At the Pitt-Rivers,'' one of 34 stories in this outstanding collection by the Booker Prize-winning author, a character reflects that just looking at a chance-met girl made you feel ``a bit like you were joining in how she felt.'' That sensation of involvement pervades these stories too--achieved by perfect tone, unerring point of view and unflagging tension. Although the stories are epiphanic the lives of the protagonists can be readily imagined: these people exist. In so mundane a situation as that of ``Bus Stop,'' the conductor--set apart by an educated accent and a dignified bearing--collects a fare from a fashionable woman who turns out to be his sister-in-law, and so dismays her that she rides past her stop. Very little happens in ``Nothing Missing but the Samovar,'' about a young German at Cambridge who spends a few months doing research at a Dorset farm--except that he leaves the farm totally changed. The precise image, the unexpected detail, compassion without sentimentality, are only a few of the elements that make these stories a celebration of the narrative art. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Lively follows her Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger ( LJ 3/15/88) with a lustrous collection of short fiction. These witty, profoundly civilized stories display Lively's compassion, intelligence, and versatility. Echoes of Chekhov distinguish ``The Crimean Hotel,'' a small gem of a story about loneliness set in Yalta. In ``A Long Night at Abu Simbel,'' a guide escorting a group of shrill British tourists through Egypt is so provoked that she abandons them to their fate. In the title story a wealthy, pretentious family is revealed to be as shallow and uninteresting as a pack of cards. This captivatingly intelligent collection confirms Lively's place as one of Britain's most imaginative and important contemporary writers.-- Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802136244
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,337,325
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.94(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Beloved memoirist (A House Unlocked), children's book author (The Ghost of Thomas Kempe), and Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively is perhaps best known for smart, literate thrillers that look to the past for keys to understanding, like 2003's The Photograph. "I'm not an historian," Lively told Britain's The Observer, "but I can get interested -- obsessively interested -- with any aspect of the past."

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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