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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,518 ratings  ·  473 reviews
The Booker Prize-winning author's first novel since The Photograph is a sweeping saga of three generations of women, their lives, and loves

A chance meeting in St. James's Park begins young Lorna and Matt's intense relationship. Wholly in love, they leave London for a cottage in a rural Somerset village. Their intimate life together—--Matt’'s woodcarving, Lorna's self-dis
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published June 4th 2007 by Viking Books
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,518 ratings  ·  473 reviews

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Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Moon Tiger was five incandescent stars; this is more like 4.5. It sagged a bit at times but the final stretch completely won me over.

Consequences is like a family tree fairy story. The ending is maybe a bit contrived but I loved it! We get the lives of three women – grandmother, daughter and granddaughter. All three we see as young women making their way in the world. Thus Lively provides a fascinating evocation of every decade from the 1930s through to the first decade of our century. It’s a n
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, modern-lit
This is an intricately plotted, warm and intelligent story following three generations of an English family since the mid 30s. On one level this is an exploration of the significance of apparently random events, rather like Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, though without the alternative narratives, and there is nothing random about the range of the novel or the ideas behind it. It is also about the changes in women's lives and expectations since the 1930s, and about memory, what is remembered an ...more
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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 the ti ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: anglophile, own-it, wwii
It's hard not to rate a book by the previous books by the same author. This one may deserve more than 3 of my 5 stars to award. It IS good. You should read it. But if you've not read Penelope Lively I'd start with Moon Tiger or How It All Began.

I'm so glad I missed all the spoilers on this one. They abound on almost every review and synopsis. So I'll skip to the end and say: Enjoy some Lively. She can write!

Theme: Maybe the passage of time? Don't really see where the title comes from. Hmmmm...
Amy McG
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Ayelet Waldman
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book lost me in the end, although I liked it very much for a while.
Jan 18, 2009 rated it liked it
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
A chronicle of three generations of women >> Fast forward…..
If I was asked for an opinion about this book, I would have said - dear Penelope, please decide on time and place and move slowly. I don’t mind a couple of timelines, jumping between now and then is also good, but please don’t rush. Anything, as long as it allows you to explore the scents and shades of your characters lives. Moving at a fast forward pace is no good. You lose the detail and all the magic while rushing ahead to cover more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2017
I just finished this about 5 minutes ago so I might need to let it marinate a bit before finalizing my review but since I'm on GR I'm going to jot down my first impressions....

I've got a few Livelys under my best at this point and this one may be my least fave so far. Everything about it was fine...but nothing really held my interest the way the other books did. Basically we follow a lineage through multiple generations and each of them meander along and make decisions - - which is basically lif
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: could-not-finish
I did not finish it. So do take that into consideration. Alas, alas, this isn't the same at all as the writer who authored "How it all began." I found it started awkwardly, but persevered. The author is at great pains to show how unique those characters she loves are and her method of showing this is to view those not like them with a certain contemptuousness. I found that unpleasant. "How it all began" had a certain humility about it which I admired. I just hope I can locate another book by thi ...more
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
D Dyer
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I honestly kept wanting this book to get better but it just never did. Each section features a new generation but each of the protagonist in this book felt undefined, it was difficult to remember who I was meant to be focused on as each new generation simply felt like the same person set into slightly different circumstances. I generally like experimental literature, at least when I’m in the mood for it, but this is an experiment done badly. The writing simply wasn’t powerful enough in my opinio ...more
Lovely, lovely, lovely book. Two young people go to a park in 1935 and decide to speak to one another. And everything, all the consequences of love and marriage and birth and death and grief and joy and family and work, everything flows from that one small decision they make. And along the way, people make other decisions, choose other people, and intertwining lines of story flow out from each of them. Story is everywhere. Everyone's life is made up of stories, of moments of choosing and all the ...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
Beth Bonini
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Penelope Lively book and I read it for my postal book club. I'll be reading more Penelope Lively I'm sure. The story line kept me captivated and the writing is good. I was interested in the strong female characters and the bit of history woven in. I'm not giving it more stars because it was not a particularly memorable read, enjoyable though none the less. ...more
Richard Barry
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! Penelope Lively is a terrific writer who does a marvelous job exploring the connections between generations.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this novel, not quite as good as Moon Tiger but not far off and in its own way just as ambitious. She follows the lives of three women, grandmother to granddaughter and manages to hold your attention and sympathy for all three women.

The other thing Lively does in this novel is show the changes in the world and the way we live, deftly without fuss. I think we can conclude that the quality of people's lives is worsening, everything being too fast, too fragmentary, to shallow as is
Pris robichaud
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing

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." Dictonarly.com

"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
Debbie Robson
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Connie Faull
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 05, 2015 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: http://hogglestock.com/2015/06/25/i-l...

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
Jul 23, 2014 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.
Nov 30, 2008 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. ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Beautiful book ,long saga through the generations.Starting with the bohemian grandparents in their rural cottage. To their granddaughter in London.I am a big reader of Penelope Lively don`t know how i missed this book? I love the descriptions of the homes they had the relationships and the artistic legacy the grandfather left as a wood engraver.brilliant. I especially love the tall messy house on Fulham Road its homey feel and disarray but full of love and acceptance. I don`t want to say too m ...more
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Adult Historical Romance about Mother/ Daughter/ Granddaughter. [s] 4 25 Sep 14, 2021 08:56AM  
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Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.

Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Nex

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