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The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories (2018)

– tekijä: Penelope Lively

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
13310159,168 (4.15)8
"A glimmering collection of new short fiction from the Booker Prize winner and national bestselling author of How It All Began In such acclaimed novels as The Photograph, Family Album, and How It All Began, Penelope Lively has captivated readers with her singular blend of wisdom, elegance, and humor. Now, in her first story collection in decades, Lively takes up themes of history, family, and relationships across varied and vividly rendered settings. In the title story, a Mediterranean purple swamp hen chronicles the secrets and scandals of Quintus Pompeius's villa, culminating with his narrow escape from the lava and ash of Vesuvius. "Abroad" captures the low point of an artist couple's tumultuous European road trip, trapped in a remote Spanish farmhouse and forced to paint a family mural and pitch in with chores to pay for repairs to their broken-down car. Other stories reveal friends and lovers in fateful moments of indiscretion, discovery, and even retribution--as in "The Third Wife," when a woman learns her husband to be a serial con artist and turns a house hunting trip into an elaborately staged revenge trap"--… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I have loved much of Lively's work, so was delighted to lay hands on this new collection of short stories. She is of a certain generation of British women writers who produce precisely detailed, coolly observed, underwrought portraits largely of women and their complicated and often unsatisfied lives. I "get" Penelope. These stories, though, feel a bit more like exercises, or trials, rather than full-on examples of her art. Hmm, let's try a ghost story. Check. How about a horror story? Check. (Neither very successful.) How about a historical set piece told from the point of view of a purple swamp hen (narrated, actually, by the male bird...)? Not bad, rather fun. I got a little weary of the longing-for-a-child theme in several stories. As I was reading, I found I was paying more attention to how she was doing the writing than the story itself - not that that's a bad thing, if you want to study a fine writer's techniques! The best of the bunch was "Biography," assembled as a series of interview transcripts interspersed with the interviewees' private thoughts on the person under discussion. Cleverly wrought, multiple different voices and points of view deftly handled, with a painful ending... but even there, the tricks of the structure and approach stole some thunder from the emotional impact. You can't go wrong reading Penelope Lively, but this is perhaps not her best. ( )
  JulieStielstra | May 17, 2021 |
The collection was like finding an iron fist inside a velvet glove. Things aren't exactly as benevolent and domestically blissful as one would expect. Enjoyed the analyses of conjugal relationships, their unsuitability, miscommunications, the differences in perception. The ghost bits fell short, seemed contrived, but otherwise, a very fine collection from the Booker award winning author. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
Read 2019. ( )
  sasameyuki | May 14, 2020 |
Penelope Lively is a new writer to me and that is a surprise as the list of her works is quite long. Also, and this attracted me, she is a Booker Prize winner. This collection of short stories is wide ranging and quite varied. There are even a few 'horror' entries, but mostly the events described within these pages concern moods and impressions and the inner workings of the mind. ( )
  larryking1 | Aug 7, 2019 |
Lively [pun intended], incisive short story collection. Most consisted of psychological portraits of present-day English couples or families. Some were only a few pp. long. Only the title story concerning ancient Pompeii was different. Not a word was wasted. Wickedly humorous in most places. I liked all of them, not all equally. Some stood out for me:

*The purple swamp hen: A peacock-like bird and a servant girl who has "perfect understanding" with it, flee the opulent villa where they live, when the earthquakes begin. My favorite of all.
*Abroad: a couple whose car has broken down, is being fixed, and are staying with a peasant family, to earn their keep and to pay for the repairs, are forced to work for the family [he, the artist, paint a mural of the whole extended family and she help out around the house] until the car is fixed.
*Who do you think you were?: a young woman searches her family tree.
*The biography: A writer of a forthcoming biography interviews different people as to how they saw the late subject, a woman history professor and gets different viewpoints of how they saw her.
*The third wife: She revenges herself on a cad of a husband on behalf of herself and the two previous wives.

Some of the stories have O. Henry-type endings.

Interview with the author on NPR: https://www.npr.org/2017/05/06/526919024/penelope-lively-ponders-pompeii-and-oth...

Recommended. I want to try more of Ms. Lively's writing. ( )
  janerawoof | Jun 28, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"A glimmering collection of new short fiction from the Booker Prize winner and national bestselling author of How It All Began In such acclaimed novels as The Photograph, Family Album, and How It All Began, Penelope Lively has captivated readers with her singular blend of wisdom, elegance, and humor. Now, in her first story collection in decades, Lively takes up themes of history, family, and relationships across varied and vividly rendered settings. In the title story, a Mediterranean purple swamp hen chronicles the secrets and scandals of Quintus Pompeius's villa, culminating with his narrow escape from the lava and ash of Vesuvius. "Abroad" captures the low point of an artist couple's tumultuous European road trip, trapped in a remote Spanish farmhouse and forced to paint a family mural and pitch in with chores to pay for repairs to their broken-down car. Other stories reveal friends and lovers in fateful moments of indiscretion, discovery, and even retribution--as in "The Third Wife," when a woman learns her husband to be a serial con artist and turns a house hunting trip into an elaborately staged revenge trap"--

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