Making it Up
More lists with this book...
To write fiction is to make a succession of choices, to send the narrative and the characters in one direction rather than another. Story is navigation: successful story is the triumphant progress down exactly the right paths, avoiding the dead ends, the unsatisfactory turns. Life, of course, is not at all like that. There is no shrewd navigator, just a person's own haphazard lurching from one decision to another. Which is why life so often seems to lack the authenticity of fictio...more
In this novel (novella) Lively tells stories of parts of her life that weren't, well, parts of her life at all. She is 'making it up' hence the title. She states emphatically “This book is fiction. If anything, it is an anti-memoir.” In this book, she takes certain times in her life then crafts a fiction around characters which are neither her nor resemble her. It is sectioned into chapters: Mozambique Channel, The Albert Hall, The Temple of Mithras, Imjin River, Transatlantic, Comet, Number Twe ...more
The eight stories in the book are not equally successful. I liked "Transatlantic," "Comet" and "Number ...more
I was pretty disappointed when matching it against the expectations built up from the reviews. I don't think it would have got a look in from the slush pile had it not been from a famous novelist.
A reasonably good idea, but the stories weren't particularly compelling or interesting. I guess if you're the author, or a ...more
Making It Up (2005)is a series of stories about "what might have happened in my life if..." for instance, "if the boat on which I was escaping Cairo with my mother when the Germans were marching in during World War II had sunk?" or "if my husband had been killed and I'd never met him?" She briefly introduces ea ...more
The short story format (8 in all) makes book easy to pick up and set down (and think about, and re-read, and then come back again...).
My favorites of the series:
(1) The Mozambique Channel (About falling in love on a ship that is fleeing a war: "She felt these days as though she were two people; there was this new self, who lived differently, for whom each morning were a rich, fresh realization, and there was the old Sh ...more
I was, however, deeply disappointed. I found it difficult to keep interest in some of the stories and skipped one after a few paragraphs (Imjin River). The strongest for me were Mozambique Channel, Transatlantic, and Comet.
Well written throughout but ultimately non-engaging at many points.
Interesting concept. Interesting stories.
Ingenious, if you ask me. It makes me want to write all of the "What ifs" for my life.
There is a food scene in each story!
"We went for a picnic up in the Moq ...more
Cindy's Rating: 5 stars
If you enjoy reading Alice Munro's fiction you just might like Penelope Lively's short stories. While Munro's characters are often altered by chance encounters and random decisions sending them down strange and perilous new roads, Penelope Lively explores the paths not taken.
"Somehow, choice and contingency have landed you where you are, and the whole process seems so precarious that you look back at those climatic moments when thing ...more
One feels certain that had Lively not insisted on framing these tales with the stories of their real-life origin, the critical reaction would have tilted higher. As it is, she's delivered a hybrid collection__what she calls an "anti-memoir"__that confounds the issue. Most critics find the fiction perfectly engaging, as would befit a former winner of the Booker Prize (for Moon Tiger, 1987). But where curiosity or voyeuristic thirst might be slaked by the view into Lively's studio, the overall eff...more
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