How It All Began

By Penelope Lively
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143122647, 229pp.)

Publication Date: November 27, 2012

List Price: $16.00*
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Description
A vibrant new novel from Penelope Lively--a wry, wise story about the surprising ways lives intersect

When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true; an old-guard historian tries to recapture his youthful vigor with an ill-conceived idea for a TV miniseries; and a middle-aged central European immigrant learns to speak English and reinvents his life with the assistance of some new friends.

Through a richly conceived and colorful cast of characters, Penelope Lively explores the powerful role of chance in people's lives and deftly illustrates how our paths can be altered irrevocably by someone we will never even meet. Brought to life in her hallmark graceful prose and full of keen insights into human nature, "How It All Began" is an engaging, contemporary tale that is sure to strike a chord with her legion of loyal fans as well as new readers. A writer of rare wisdom, elegance, and humor, Lively is a consummate storyteller whose gifts are on full display in this masterful work.




About the Author
Penelope Lively is an award-winning novelist and author of children s literature. She received the Booker Prize for her novel Moon Tiger and wide acclaim for The Photograph, Family Album and How It All Began. Lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a member of PEN and the Society of Authors and a recipient of the OBE and CBE. In recognition of her contributions to British literature, she was elevated in 2012 to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She lives in London.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. How It All Began is a book about reading and writing. What does reading give to Lively’s more literate characters? What does the absence of reading deny to the others?

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