Making It Up
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
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
This really fired my imagination for some reason; I'm not sure I know why. It's a collection of short stories, which aren't really my favourite thing. They are loosely coupled together as being offshoots from Penelope Lively's own life. It's the old alternate history game made personal: "What if my life had taken a different turn?". And I found it quite compelling. It's all fiction but weakly linked together with fact and I found the junctions and the similarities and differences between the alt...more
The retelling of Penelope (from The Odyssey) was a beautiful bonus.
The writing was engaging. I will definitely check out more books by this author.
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