• 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.

  • 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

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