How It All Began
How It All Began is the wonderful new novel from Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively
When . . . Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter Rose cannot accompany her employer Lord Peters to Manchester, which means his niece Marion has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is . . . just the beginning in the
This one was conceived as an illustration of the butterfly effect. Charlotte, an old widow, is mugged and falls, breaking her hip. This sets in chain a series of events that demonstrate the interconnected nature of modern lives and the way lives are derailed by random events.
This feels like a companion piece to her book Making it Up, in which she imagined alternative versions of her own life that ...more
Charlotte, the mugged 77 year old was my favorite character. A retired English teacher, she was forced to go stay with her middle aged daughter because of a broken hip. Her remarks on reading and ...more
The pavement rises up and hits her.
Terrific, right? Here's a bit from when she's ruminating on being in constant pain from the resultant broken hip:
Ah, old age. The twilight years -- that delicate phrase. Twilight my foot -- roaring dawn of a new life, more like, the one you di ...more
While the premise of this book --the butterfly effect -- is intriguing, the execution was a real turn off. Incomplete sentences and a very British style (and I love England!!) kept me from getting into it. Take the first page:
"...A face is alongside hers. Woman. Nice woman." Or another sentence a few pages later: "So. Just what one didn't want. Being a burden and all that. What one had hoped to avoid." Ugh!
Sentences are filled with ellipses and narrations are changed ab ...more
Opening this Penelope Lively book I was from the start taken by the character of Charlotte and a feeling of familiarity and appreciation didn't leave for the rest of the novel. Set primarily in London, the scenario and the people felt to me like I could have met them and the mugging... well, I have had that experience too. Charlotte, a very independent-minded senior with her wits and sense of humour about her, endears herself immediately to the reader. The day-time mugg ...more
Ever since I turned the last page of Penelope Lively's Booker Prize winning novel Moon Tiger nearly 25 years ago, I was hooked. Her peek inside modern British culture was a look at a world that probably no longer exists. Lively's characters are complex--especially her women--and drive the story; I've often envisioned the conversations we'd share. And so The Road to Lichtfield, The Photograph, and Moon Tiger remain some of my favorite reading memories. The author is now eighty and I'd thought she ...more
I've always en ...more
Lively’s chaos starts with Charlotte Rainsford’s mugging. When Charlotte gets mugged her hip is ...more
It all begins when Charlotte Rainsford – a 76-year-old woman – is accosted by an unknown teenage thief on the streets of London and breaks her hip. That one random event gi ...more
Myself, I really loved the opening pages when Charlotte, age 77, the main character, really finds life coming from the ground up to smack her in the face. From here, it's sort of a serendipitous story where life offers surprises, the cause and effect (or is that affect, I hate this word!) that can change th ...more
UPDATE: Interesting to follow the consequences of one incident and how it ripples in to so many other lives/situations. Penelope is brilliant.
I loved this every bit as much as Moon Tiger. Two for two and on to (many) more.
This is a light read, but with thoughts that linger—not just about chaos and interconnectedness, but about what it means to live through chance occurrences, to age, to remember and to adapt. Very enjoyable, and now that I've found her, I’m looking forward to my next Penelope Lively experience.
Charlotte, who has always been fiercely independent, finds herself forced into living with her daughter, Rose, and her husband, Gerry. Rose works for a once-notable historian who is inter ...more
In this novel, Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip in the resultant fall. For some weeks she needs ...more
None of these ...more
|21st Century Lite...: How It All Began - Whole Book Discussion, Spoilers Allowed (March 2017)||20||22||Apr 18, 2017 07:40AM|
|21st Century Lite...: How It All Began - Background Thread, No Spoilers (March 2017)||17||33||Mar 25, 2017 05:20PM|
|21st Century Lite...: How it All Began - Chapters 01-03 (March 2017)||8||18||Mar 10, 2017 07:04AM|
|21st Century Lite...: How it All Began - Chapters 04-11 (March 2017)||4||15||Mar 05, 2017 05:56PM|
Born in Cairo in 1933, she spent her early childhood in Egypt, before being sent to boarding school in England at the age of twelve. She read Modern History at St Anne ...more