Reviews

  • Lively immediately plunges us into an entirely convincing world of bustling family life...exceptionally well observed and gloriously enjoyable...this should be rated as one of her most impressive works

    Guardian
  • One of those ridiculously simple, ridiculously readable novels whose artistry only becomes apparent when you put it down with a sign of regret, having devoured it in one sitting...Lively still displays an economy and an elegance that put younger writers to shame

    Sunday Telegraph
  • Lively's brilliance is of the creeping kind. There is a sense of formality, which falls away as the novel gains pace and builds towards an unforeseen end. She is particularly good at bending language to make it fit her cool and clear voice...Lively succeeds brilliantly in getting a hold on the climate of family life. Slowly we absorb the details that get lost in the bluster and flurry until we are so drawn in, so tightly contained in the dynamics of this one, that the end, when it comes, is simply devastating

    The Times
  • A pleasure to read, hugely enjoyable, consistently absorbing, hilarious

    Independent
  • An involving emotional drama and an insightful examination of changing family values

    Easy Living
  • The complexities and silences of family life are intelligently and subtly explored...a very engaging novel, continuously interesting and often moving

    Scotsman
  • Gorgeous

    David Vann, Guardian Books of the Year
  • Sympathetic and observant, Lively moves fluidly between present-tense set-piece scenes and silent monologues, placing the novel's revelations where they will be most effective, and allowing implications - about marriage, feminism and personal ambition - to blossom slowly

    Sunday Times
  • 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
  • A very readable, well-paced novel peopled with Lively's customary immaculately observed and impeccably rounded characters

    Independent on Sunday