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Pack of Cards: Stories 1978-1986

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  85 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Collection of short stories
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 3rd 1987 by Penguin (first published August 11th 1986)
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Jan 19, 2014 Esdaile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2013 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2016 F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Mar 20, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
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
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.
Paul Secor
Wherein, Ms. Lively shows that, in addition to writing wonderful novels, she can write wonderful short stories.
Oct 26, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories with varied themes, humor, and quirky characters.
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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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