Penelope Lively’s timeless, Booker Prize-winning novel explores the shifting nature of reality and identity through the many lives of its narrator.
Claudia Hampton, a famous writer, lies dying in hospital. But as the nurses tend to her with quiet condescension, she is plotting her greatest work: ‘a history of the world… and in the process, my own’. Gradually she re-creates the rich mosaic of her life and times, conjuring up those she has known. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool, conventional daughter; and Tom, her one great love, both found and lost in wartime Egypt.