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3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,521 Ratings  ·  321 Reviews
The Booker Prize?winning author's sweeping saga of three generations of women
?One of the most accomplished writers of fiction of our day? ("The Washington Post" ) follows the lives and loves of three women?Lorna, Molly, and Ruth?from World War II?era London to the close of the century. Told in Lively's incomparable prose, this is a powerful story of growth, death, and re
ebook, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Apr 01, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
liked this novel. I always enjoy a Penelope Lively novel. This one is superbly written. The tone of the novel is soft and thoughtful, with little that jars. Considering the fact that two of the three heroines in the novels die prematurely, as does the man who's the center focus of the novel, that's an achievement. Lively has a way of muting the traumatic by focusing on ancillary things. The way one gets through periods of great sorrow or stress by cleaning the bathtub as it's never been cleaned ...more
I really like P. Lively – there’s a certain something about the way she writes. Big things are understated while little things are lovingly described in great detail. I see from other reviews that a lot of people feel the characters in Consequences were given short shrift in an effort to create this short multi-generational saga. For me, Lively pulled it off & it was a success. I felt like rather than creating fully fledged life stories for these characters, Lively was creating a sense of th ...more
Nov 22, 2008 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boring. The entire concept of fiction is that a character's choices lead to consequences. It is how any novel is meant to move. Lively, however, decides to skip forward and try to do too much. Each generation gets replaced by the next in her narrative and as I've thought about it, I feel that the author's approach comes off as naive and disrespectful of characters as they age. In an attempt to express some feminist ideals, she ignores the rich cause and effect relationship that I long for in fol ...more
Ayelet Waldman
Aug 27, 2014 Ayelet Waldman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book lost me in the end, although I liked it very much for a while.
Sep 28, 2009 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories of three generations of women told in sparse but elegant prose, Lively covers 70 years of social history in England, begining just before WWII, in this rather short novel, with characters entering and leaving the stage often. Of the three female protagonists, the grandmother Lorna and mother Molly emerge, play their roles in centre stage, and exit rather suddenly and it is left to daughter Ruth to tie the loose ends and bring the novel to its circular close.

The character's lives are
Amy McGuire
Sep 24, 2011 Amy McGuire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something in the writing of Penelope Lively that never fails to captivate me. Perhaps it is due to the subtlety of her writing, the way in which the characters are built up so slowly and perfectly that you feel like you know all you need without any of the long soliloquies found throughout much contemporary literature. Perhaps it is because many of them are set in an England similar to the one that I myself have experienced, a past that I know of and have been told about by my grandpare ...more
Consequences is a thoughtful, elegantly written book that I keep thinking of as graceful. While the plot is filled with drama, spans three generations, and includes war, death, sex, and every deep and dramatic emotion possible, it nonetheless floats along without ever bogging down in sentimentality or morbidity. Lively's prose is clear and concise, and after slogging through some of too-long books recently, it was also something of a breath of fresh air.

The book tells the story of a chance meeti
Dec 19, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I approached this book as a case study. What I found when I read this was an author who is beyond smart, doing interesting things with her writing, changing styles on purpose from main story to main story and all the while I wondered if she planned it this way or if it just happened and she went along for the ride.

Wondered is the wrong word. Marveled...that she planned it this way.

The first story is broken into wonderful "snippets" almost short stories or glimpses into England just before and du
Pris robichaud
Jan 04, 2009 Pris robichaud rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Consequences: Something Logical or Naturally That Follows, 28 Jul 2007

4.5 stars

"Consequences: Something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition.
The relation of a result to its cause.
A logical conclusion or inference."

"The women are buffeted by events but do not break. The consequences come from their refusal to conform; which generally leads to happiness." Ruaridh Nicoll.

Penelope Lively manages to tell a story of three generations of women, from the e
Debbie Robson
Jan 06, 2013 Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I've asked this question before but I really do wonder how a big a factor our moods (or where we are at in our lives) have on whether we like or dislike a book. I picked this book up about three years ago, read the first page and was immediately disappointed with the depiction of the meeting and falling madly in love of the two main characters, Matt and Lorna. It was dealt with in such a perfunctuory fashion that I didn't want to read more. I felt cheated, put the book aside and picked up ...more
Connie Faull
This book is about 3 generations of pretty independent minded women, starting with Lorna in 1935 who marries outside of her class and into a very different life from that of the upper middleclass home she was brought up in. He daughter, Molly, also chooses a path which is different from what society prescribed for woman in the early 1960s, and finally Lorna's granddaughter Ruth, finds her independent spirit as she approaches her 40s. All of these women were indpendent minded in their own right f ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Agatha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second book by this author, who also wrote FAMILY ALBUM. I like this author, but this book wasn't my fave. The idea behind it is that seemingly meaningless choices we make (Should we take this bus or the later one? Should I sit down on this bench in the park and feed the birds for a moment or hurry on my way? Should I take a look at the jobs wanted section of the paper left behind on this train seat or just stare out the window?) can lead to momentous changes of direction in our lives. To dep ...more
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Penelope Lively won the Booker, the literary prize for writers in English I respect the most, so she must be worth reading. That was my thought when Consequences fell into my hands. As it turns out this four-generation family saga (done in 268 pages) is a rather slight work whose depth doesn’t begin to match its scope. We begin with a charming romantic scene in St. James park in the nineteen thirties, which romance carries us to a rude Somerset cottage. Then we rush on through mostly predictabl ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 25, 2015 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In late June I read a terrific review of Penelope Lively's Consquenses on Hogglestock, the newly-named blog that was once My Porch:

So I borrowed it from the library. But I was only half a dozen pages into the book when I realized I had read the book before. I looked it up and the original reading was in August of 2007. I gave it 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars.

It's truly outstanding. The book made it to my list of the 5 best fiction titles of 2007 but I d
Mar 11, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Penelope Lively is a Booker Prize winner (Moon Tiger) and an extremely accomplished British writer. This book traces three generations of women through their various love affairs. The stories are simple yet compelling beginning with Laura who is at odds with her upper middle class family and who falls in love with an artist. We then follow Molly, their daughter whose life begins happily but who looses both parents. Finally, the book ends with Ruth, Molly's daughter. Throughout the three generati ...more
Jun 09, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Graceful and highly distilled (i. e., short---no Galsworthian saga here) story of three generations of women in one family. It's rare to read a novel with a visual artist as a main character---not counting all the novels about famous artists of history. The opening scene's depiction of an artist sketching on a park bench, therefore, was a great delight for me.
I liked it all the way through, too. In spite of some brusque transitions in the story line (remember, it's a short epic!), it's well con
Jun 17, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, uk
E' questa la funzione dei libri: offrono un punto di vista, anzi, molti punti di vista conflittuali, stimolano il pensiero, provocano fastidio e ammirazione, fanno meditare. Portano chiunque li legga lontano da sé e lo lasciano in un posto da cui non tornerà mai completamente.
Questo libro mi ha trasportato nelle vite di tre donne, tre generazioni della stessa famiglia (via matriarcale) a Londra, dagli anni '30 a oggi.
Affascinanti le scelte, più o meno conformiste, sicuramente ragionate e sentit
Jan 30, 2015 Alexis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 21st-century, fiction
Well written and lovely in places, but large portions felt thin to me, more like a slideshow than a story, shifting frequently from one important (and often predictable) event to the next without giving the reader time to really sink in. I wish Lively had slowed things down - lingered, gone deeper - a bit more often. As it was, I found it difficult to care about many of the characters or what happened to them.
Dec 30, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Oh, how I love Penelope Lively and the way she writes. Totally unsentimental, and full of articulate emotion, dry wit, and interesting smart, brave characters. It doesn't supersede "Passing On" as my favorite PL novel, but it comes pretty close.
I stumbled across Consequences on GoodReads and added it to my list of books to read because I was intrigued by the idea of a multigenerational book. However, Consequences is a multigenerational book that was poorly executed.

Lively’s best characters, Lorna and Molly, exist at the beginning of the book but by the time you finally get to “know” Ruth, Molly’s daughter and Lorna’s granddaughter, I had lost all interest in her plight. As a whole, the characters were very one-dimensional and I couldn’
Feb 27, 2010 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aborted
I picked this up in the Popular Library the other day & read maybe a third of it. Gave it a good try, but I was frustrated at the lack of real characterization. Lorna meets Matthew & they fall in love instantly & never have even a momentary conflict. They marry, have a baby, & prove to be perfect parents defined by their hard work & artistic tastes. Their daughter Molly doesn't seem traumatized by having grown up an orphan; she too makes decisions on the basis of her tastes & ...more
Mandy Setterfield
To be honest, a little disappointing for Penelope Lively. I thought the second half was definitely weaker. I'm not sure that the generational aspect works. Molly is a major character but once she is settled the focus shifts away from her completely and I felt that her story wasn't finished with the depth she deserved.
Sep 04, 2007 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I haven't read enough of Lively to know if this is always true, but in this novel, she managed to completely absorb me in the lives of three generations of an English family without ever seeming to strain herself. I can't describe too much of the detail without giving away the plot, but suffice it to say that she starts with the chance meeting of a young woman, who is chafing at the restrictions of her very proper upper class British family, and a young artist, who are immediately taken with eac ...more
Rachel Rooney
Jul 15, 2012 Rachel Rooney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
The first part of this book was enchanting. I like Lively's writing style and her prose: "Everything that might be said hung in the air, until none of them could stand it any longer..." But then everything changes, and the book starts to jump around, and it never regained my interest. I wonder if it was intended to resemble Matt's engravings? Also, and this is a minor quibble, the description on the dust jacket is wrong. It says that Lorna is pregnant when Matt dies, and this is just not true. P ...more
Beth Bonini
Feb 16, 2014 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The other night at dinner I had an argument with one of my most bookish friends about Penelope Lively. There is something about Lively's writing and favourite themes that appeals to me enormously. She is imaginatively obsessed with time, and those unforeseen moments when life turns on a dime -- and so am I. The whole "if I hadn't sat on this particular park bench at this particular time" my life would have taken an entirely different course. There is a strong sense that chance and accident are a ...more
Jul 15, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Penelope Lively won the Booker prize for her novel "Moon Tiger" which is the story of a woman on her death bed who looks back on her life. (It's an awesome short novel. Read it.) This book "Consequences" was written many years later but there are some similar themes. It is the story of 3 generations of women. It starts with Lorna who meets and falls in love with Matt, an artist, and their short but very happy life together before he dies in World War I. Then the story follows their daughter Moll ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Tolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this family saga of sorts, that focuses on 3 generations of women, all of whom were right up my alley: forward-thinking, independent and ahead of their generation. The story begins on the eve of World War II, when an aspiring engraver meets a young woman on a park bench in London, and embark on a love story that sets a new family in motion, with the story going to the early 21st century.

Penelope Lively has this, I dunno, British! way of writing that's so appealing in the turn of
Oct 08, 2009 Fionnuala rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This read a bit like a Women's Own rip-off of a Penelope Lively story. In Moon Tiger she really made us care about the characters, their world and the resonance of their lives. Here it just all seemed a bit trivial and engineered. Plus there was that awful hearty cosiness that hits the "modern day" bit of too many family sagas. Clearly it's a genre up for reinvention. Too bad Lively hasn't done it here.
Robin Bentley
Feb 27, 2009 Robin Bentley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, lovely book. Someone said Lively loves her characters, and I see that as very true after reading a number of her books over the years. She's just an effortless writer. This one gets you into the story of a wartime romance/marriage, then brings it up to the present day through the eyes of both daughter and granddaughter.
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Consequences 1 9 Jun 18, 2013 02:17PM  
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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
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“I have no idea where I am going, she thought, but I have begun.” 14 likes
“If we had not met, that day, I think I would have imagined you somehow.” 13 likes
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