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The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

Penelope Lively



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18 May 2017
ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— If you enjoy the short story form, then you know that Penelope Lively is a great exponent of the style. In this, her fifth collection, she takes her keen eye to a range of subjects, though most of them are concerned in one way or another with the way a certain class of contemporary society lives and behaves, and with the way people so often don't say what they want in the heartfelt expectation that communication is what others should be doing. From the title story (as told by a waterbird decorating a Pompeian garden) through to the last story of perfect revenge, via tales of surprise and sometimes even ghosts, these are little gems! Lindy Jones


A dream house that is hiding something sinister; two women having lunch who share a husband; an old woman doing her weekly supermarket shop with a secret past that no one could guess; a couple who don't know each other at all even after fifteen years together; and, in the story from which this collection takes its name, a bird and a servant girl in ancient Pompeii who cannot converse, but share a perfect understanding. In this new and varied collection of short stories, Penelope Lively shows that she remains a master of her craft, and one of our finest English writers.

'Lively remains a sublime storyteller' Guardian
By:   Penelope Lively
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 13mm
Weight:   149g
ISBN:   9780241978535
ISBN 10:   024197853X
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   18 May 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra's Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours List, and DBE in 2012. Penelope Lively lives in London.

Reviews for The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

Carefully thought-out stories. . . Patterns of interaction between past and present are sounded out to good effect. * Sunday Times * Lively has guts and style. . . You are in the hands of a master * Daily Mail * Her new collection of short stories is perfect. It is a very wide range of short stories and each one has an unexpected twist in the tale. * Kirsty Lang * Thoughtful, intelligent and light of touch . . . Lively has the gift, rare and wonderful, of being able to peel back the layers one by one and set them before us, translucent and gleaming. * Sunday Telegraph * Spry and world-wise, The Purple Swamp Hen is an enchanting story that sets the tone for the rest of this stellar collection. * Observer * More stylish than many writers half her age . . . Lively knows a thing or two about storytelling. * The Times on How It All Began * Lively is now nearly 80 but, as How It All Began shows, there is no diminution of her skills . . . Lively is a writer of craft and sagacity and such old fashioned virtues trump the chic but meretricious every time. * Financial Times on How It All Began * Penelope Lively at her best, sharp-eyed but sympathetic, deftly steering the reader from one point of view to another. This novel should delight her regular readers and ensnare new ones. * Evening Standard on Family Album * Lively skilfully mingles past and present, as she peels away the layers to uncover a family secret of which no one speaks...Lively's astute skewering of family relations reverberates in the mind long afterwards. * Daily Mail on Family Album * Gorgeous * David Vann on Family Album, Guardian Books of the Year * Sensuous and beautiful prose...proof that the best novelists change and grow. * The Times on Consequences * Neatly constructed, lucidly written and full of admirable sentiments. * Sunday Times on Consequences * Masterful. Transforms the every day into something rich. * Time Out on Consequences *

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