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Pack of Cards

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  94 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 9th 1999 by Grove Press (first published August 11th 1986)
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Nov 01, 2011 Esdaile rated it really liked it
Having found this among my mother's books after she died, I thought I would give it a try. I am glad I did. The stories are very enjoyable, might be described as a cliché of what is thought to be an English sensibility (subdued tones, understatement, hint rather than statement, implication rather than dogma, sentiment rather than emotion) with the English literary tendency nevertheless (or so it seems to me) to create subdued caricatures in the guise of authentic characters, so I hesitated betwe ...more
May 16, 2012 J rated it it was amazing
Nothing Missing but the Samovar - A beautifully rendered story told from the perspective of a German student visiting the estate of an arisrocratic English family who have fallen on hard times yet maintain a wonderfully staid optimism and love of their farm and way of life. Very English.

Servants Talk about People: Gentlefolk discuss things - I'll remember this every time I dine in a restaurant. funniest story I've read in years!

Long Night at Abu Simbel - Very funny tale of how rapidly our venee
Mar 13, 2017 Diana rated it it was amazing
Superb! Reading Lively's writing is pure pleasure. Each story presented here is a a slice of life - a tale you can recognize and understand. Haunting and mesmerizing. Not soon to be forgotten. I can't wait to read Penelope's next book of stories coming out in May!
Peter Burton
Feb 13, 2017 Peter Burton rated it really liked it
Always a wonderful writer - perceptive,understated,very English.
This was my introduction (by Joan Berman) to Penelope Lively, who is certainly a prolific writer, for adults and children. The short stories are engaging, a bit odd, and certainly have enticed me to do some more reading from this woman. Each the stories starts out with a little ordinary tale, with slightly particular people in it. Soon the level of twisting emerges, all within the context of ordinary people in ordinary situations. Most will resonate as, “Ah yes, I understand that” or “I was incl ...more
Nov 27, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always enjoyed Penelope Lively's wonderful children's books, but it's only recently that I've come to read and enjoy her adult fiction. I picked this collection of her short stories written between 1978 and 1986 in a second-hand bookshop for just a couple of pounds, and that's definitely money very well-spent! The stories vary widely in subject matter - there are ghost stories (Revenant as Typewriter), comic tour de forces (A Long Night at Abu Simbel), tart studies of class and prejudice (i ...more
Feb 03, 2016 F rated it really liked it
She writes very well, very understated, but insightful and acutely observed. However, by the end of this collection of short stories written between 1978 and 1986 I begin to find her precision and 'cold eye' slightly irritating. It is all very 'British', very middle-class, very clever. These are better dipped into now and then, when it is easier to be surprised by her keen observation, and clever wit.
Mar 15, 2012 Cynthia rated it liked it
The stories are anything from vignettes to complete stories, and some feel rather unfinished. Some are excellent, others less so, but generally good. There's a very British feel and atmosphere, which I enjoyed.
Dec 28, 2016 Moirad rated it liked it
Wide range of short stories - I still prefer her novels and non-fiction, but these are amusing and contain shrewd and witty observations of human nature.
Paul Secor
Wherein, Ms. Lively shows that, in addition to writing wonderful novels, she can write wonderful short stories.
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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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