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Heat Wave

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  620 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
In her most accomplished and appealing novel since the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger, acclaimed author Penelope Lively tells an emotionally powerful, beautifully wrought story of love and marital infidelity through the eyes of a mother whose daughter's husband has strayed.
Paperback, 228 pages
Published September 6th 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published September 16th 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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Aug 30, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The question is often asked ' Do you remember where you were when JFK was shot ?'...well probably in the midst of being breast fed by my mum if you're interested but I think a question could also be asked of the sun-starved british. ' Do you remember the heat waves of 1976, 1983 etc. We get so little that it remains burnt, if you'll pardon the pun, in the memory.

This novel is all about an unspecified summer in which memory and past experience intermingle with the oppressively hot present. The m
Kirsty Darbyshire
Jan 27, 2012 Kirsty Darbyshire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
There are lots of authors who I really enjoy who get me happily from one end of a book to the other, with all kinds of interesting plots, characters and relationships, but who never write a really memorable sentence that makes me sit back and think. Penelope Lively is not one of those authors. Her plots are great (usually) small scale dramas, the characters fabulous and the relationships very interesting, but on every page there are a handful of sentences you want to cut out and keep forever. Wo ...more
Dec 09, 2013 Alesa rated it really liked it
Very literary novel about a woman in her 50's spending the summer in a remote English cottage with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson. As she watches her daughter's marriage devolve, she does flashbacks into the devolution other own marriage.

This is a short, female and very inward-looking book. There's not a lot of action. Rather, it's all about the minute observations of relationships, sometimes in no more than a glance or a single word. Lots of interpretations, and lots of projection on the
Aug 29, 2014 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Penelope Lively drifted on and off my to-read list for awhile. So glad I picked this up. Great voice, sympathetic protagonist and an ominous atmosphere, helped by the heaviness of hot weather.
The story centers on a woman in her 50s who lives next door to her daughter and her daughter's dashing husband, and their child. Aspects of the daughter's relationship remind her of her own failed marriage to a beloved but untrue star academic.
The action is not dramatic but has serious pull, like increasi
Sarah Harkness
Oct 18, 2012 Sarah Harkness rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book - the interweaving of the two stories becoming more and more intricate, the wonderful use of the looming heat and storm, the heart-wrenching fear of the mother for her daughter, the unexpected ending...really powerful. I've never read a bad Penelope Lively, but this is certainly one of her best.
Lynn Cullen
Dec 22, 2009 Lynn Cullen rated it it was amazing
A masterfully written book. One of my all time favorites. I have turned to this book time and time again for a lesson on subtle writing.
May 20, 2017 Louise rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful novel from Penelope Lively. This is one of those "quiet" novels that nevertheless thrills with its beautiful language and astute characterisation. The descriptions of rural life and the seasons are perfect. Highly recommend this one for its subtlety, humour and deep understanding of human nature.
Wendy Chard
Mar 27, 2012 Wendy Chard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this, as I've loved other works by P. Lively.

As before, history plays an important thematic role in Lively's tale. This time, we see the threat of history repeating itself as a mother is forced to watch her daughter suffer the same mistakes that she made. Love is lost, in Heat Wave, through betrayal rather than being stolen by war (as in Moon Tiger). Pauline in Heat Wave is, arguably, a more widely relateable character than Claudia is in Moon Tiger. I still prefer Claudia, personally, f
Jane Greensmith
Jan 13, 2014 Jane Greensmith rated it really liked it
I'm really enjoying this book and am about mid-way through it, and I just had to comment on a scene that reminded me so strongly of Mansfield Park. In Chapter 9, the main character, Pauline, and her daughter, Teresa, and son-in-law, Maurice, are touring an 18th century mansion and grounds along with Maurice's editor, James, and his girlfriend, Carol. Pauline is growing suspicious that Maurice is or will be unfaithful to Teresa, and, in a Fanny Price sort of way, observes Maurice send James and T ...more
Megan Bromley
Dec 12, 2015 Megan Bromley rated it really liked it
Penelope Lively is such an effortlessly wonderful author, the sort who makes writing look a far easier craft than it is. Her characters are possessed of depth and nuance after only a sentence or two and her settings always richly felt, though not described in a heavy-handed fashion. Heat Wave is a fascinating look at marriage and fidelity, told in an understated manner throughout, yet with much passion beneath the surface. My review isn't 5 stars only because this isn't my favorite Penelope Live ...more
Jun 08, 2015 Rosemarie rated it it was amazing
I love all of Penelope Lively's books but as the mother of adult children this one touched me in a special way. You never do stop worrying about your children and hurting for them. She spoke for me brilliantly when she said "What in fact happens is that instead of getting there in the nick of time before they fall out of the window or pull the kettle over on themselves you have to stand on one side and watch it happen. Or wait for it to happen. Or wonder if it's going to happen." Thanks Penelope ...more
Jul 29, 2016 Morag rated it it was amazing
Really masterful writing. Vividly drawn characters that I feel I have really spent time with and know. Slow-paced, but wonderfully so. I read it in a few blisteringly hot days this summer so it fitted perfectly with the heatwave of the story. Love the way the harvest's progression mirrored the events of the plot. Also so thought-provoking on the subject of parenthood and what it means and how it changes and develops. Lots to continue to chew over. Think this one will stay with me for some time!
Dec 10, 2013 Marianne rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Penelope Lively's slow style so I enjoyed every word of this book. This isn't a book for someone who wants a "fast" read.

The novel is set in the english country side during one of the warmest summers on record. In a converted farmhouse, an older woman and her daughter's family share communal space and the pain of infidelity. The characters are so great and real. This book has a surprise ending which was unexpected.
Nov 19, 2013 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This may well be my best read of 2013 but who know still another month to go and hopefully with time for some more reading.

Penelope Lively writes with such insight into how we humans tick; never for a moment do I think, no that just wouldn't happen.No affected voice this, no jarring note, jsut sublime literature.
Aug 23, 2016 Katrina rated it really liked it
I really admire Penelope Lively's writing and although Heat Wave is about fairly mundane domestic situations often written about, she managed to make the book into a page turner with a very satisfying ending.
Phoebe Kate Foster
Apr 06, 2009 Phoebe Kate Foster rated it it was amazing
A short, engrossing novel about romantic obsession. The author writes about a complex and delicate topic with grace and authority. A must-read for fiction writers.

This is the first book by Penelope Lively I've read and I'm ordering the rest of her novels from Amazon this afternoon.
A fabulous book! There are so many levels to this book, but they all come from Pauline. Penelope Lively is a master in the art of human emotion. The story begins in the late spring, when Pauline, her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson are staying in a duplex 0wned by Pauline in the country-side. Everything is fresh, green, and vibrant. The story parallels the agricultural growth and the long hot summer. Pauline flashbacks to her marriage to Harry, who is her daughter Teresa's father, their marri ...more
Jun 06, 2017 Sandra rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Excellent. Quiet, contemplative, inexorably-paced, and so very well-observed.
Mar 06, 2017 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good ending
Roger Brunyate
Apr 29, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it really liked it
Shelves: women
Vicarious Jealousy

Pauline Carter, a fifty-something free-lance book editor, lives at World's End, a cottage in the middle of a wheatfield somewhere in the English Midlands. She has rented the slightly larger cottage next door for the summer to her daughter Teresa, who is occupied with her toddler Luke. This is so that Teresa's husband Maurice can put the finishing touches on a book about the tourist industry; a television series is on the drawing-board. The novel runs from May through August, in
Robert Palmer
Feb 18, 2017 Robert Palmer rated it it was ok
I'm a huge fan of Penelope Lively and was looking forward to reading this book published in 1996. Unfortunately,this novel didn't live up to the high qualities I had been expecting,I was annoyed with the main character who was always worrying about her Daughters marital problems which were,in fact,the same problems she had with husband,every chapter seemed to be the same as the previous chapter and there was way too much discretion of the landscape.
In the end I would have to say that whether it
Apr 14, 2015 verbava rated it really liked it
контемплятивна, дуже внутрішня історія, у якій враження, переживання і спогади тяжіють над подіями. зате ті події, що в цій книжці все-таки є, поступово сплітаються в ідеальний шторм, масштаби якого вдається помітити тільки тоді, коли він уже набирає повної сили. шторм – то й у прямому сенсі, і в переносному: сюжет досконало римується з погодою одного спекотного, засушливого літа, у якому теплий сонячний вітер змінюється тягучим очікуванням дощу, а потім бурею.
пенелопа лайвлі виписує асиметрію,
Mike Clarke
May 30, 2015 Mike Clarke rated it liked it
Hey, we're heading for a summer heatwave.....

Anyone who has grown up in the English middle classes over the last 40 years will recognise the Lively milieu. Piano lessons, alice bands, holidays spent in rancid rented cottages in Gloucestershire or Shropshire, ill-maintained Renaults, Bridgwater french bowls, ratatouille and Yves Rocher talc. All of these and more never feature in her books, they just feel like they do. It's so comfortable - one knows where one is, these are people like us.

Or are
Jul 05, 2014 April rated it liked it
Lively's writing is always amazing, and this book does not disappoint. In Heat Wave, Pauline, a middle aged (long-ago) divorcee is living next to her daughter and her son-in-law in 2 cottages in the country. She is editing various books, a small-time affair, but a career where she can be fully independent in all kinds of ways, a quality of life that is precious to her. Her son-in-law, several years older than her daughter, is a new father and is being groomed by his publishing company for what t ...more
Jan 27, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it

Never heard of Peneolpe Lively, but this was a great find. It brings me back to teh day when I (and everyone esle I knw)were reading novels by women (mostly British) writers- Margaret drabble, Doris Lessing, Edna O'Brien, Barbara Pym., etc. A 55 year old woman in the English countryside spending a very hot summer with her daughter, her daugher's hsuband and her grandchild. The whole plot is her growing realization that her son in law is cheating on his wife, just as her husband cheated on her. E
Sep 21, 2014 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heat Wave is a painfully perceptive account of an adulterous marriage. The marriage in question is that between Teresa and Maurice and is falling apart over the course of a long hot summer spent in a rural retreat 'somewhere in the middle of England'. What gives the story its edge and power is the fact that this is observed through the eyes of Pauline, Teresa's mother, who is staying in the cottage next door, and, as soon becomes apparent, knows a thing or two about the raw pain and distress of ...more
Aug 19, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Against the backdrop of the English countryside, in the shadow of the eternal cycle of the seasons, a mother watches her daughter suffer in a marriage to a philandering man. Mother and daughter and grandson are spending the summer in adjoining cottages, where the mother edits manuscripts; the daughter's husband comes and goes. The grandson, Luke, who is 2 or 3, is a highlight of the story: the author convincingly shows how entirely differently he observes the world, present to each moment, not l ...more
Bonnie G
May 07, 2012 Bonnie G rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bonnie G by: SPCO lecture on books
This Lively read was much better than the other one I read by her. I think it appealed because I am about to go to England and spend time in the countryside. I did like Pauline and her lioness approach to protecting her daughter from heartbreak. Every mother can probably understand this, as she explained to one of her authors when he was hoping not to care so much about his kids when they were grown. I also enjoyed her friendship with Hugh and her shock when he thought they should go beyond frie ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Camie rated it liked it
Penelope Lively's English story of marital infidelity as told through a mother's eye's. Peggy lives next door to her daughter Teresa and her husband Maurice and their young son Luke in the countryside. As Summer progresses Peggy watches her daughter's husband who is an author become involved with the woman of a couple who frequently visit to help edit books. Having gone through similiar things in her own marriage it is difficult for Peggy to watch as her daughter's marriage disolves. Surprise en ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Jessie rated it liked it
There is some very good writing in this book so far, for example "there are echoes and reverberations, there is a shimmer on the bland surface. Ordinary words are loaded, there are echoes of theother events, other exchanges, of different manifestations of Pauline, of Teresa. A cycle of involvement is manifested in each inflexion of their voices. " The problem is simply that it's a very conventional view of sex and betrayal, one sided, and largely plotless. Perhaps it will get better.
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Around the Year i...: Heat Wave, by Penelope Lively 2 15 Jan 12, 2017 08:36PM  
  • Visitors
  • The Needle's Eye
  • Living to Tell
  • Losing Nelson
  • Harnessing Peacocks
  • Hot Plastic
  • One Fine Day
  • Human Voices
  • The World My Wilderness
  • The House on Fortune Street
  • A View of the Harbour
  • A Landing on the Sun
  • The Picts & the Martyrs or Not Welcome at All (Swallows and Amazons, #11)
  • The Inn at the Edge of the World
  • An Unsuitable Attachment
  • Tell No Tales (DI Zigic and DS Ferreira, #2)
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
Penelope Lively CBE (born March 17, 1933) is a prolific, popular and critically acclaimed author of fiction for both children and adults. She has been shortlisted three times for the Booker Prize, winning once for Moon Tiger in 1987.

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 about Penelope Lively...

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