Search: Penelope Lively

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Cheating at Canasta

William Trevor (Author)

Cheating at Canasta - an outstanding collection of stories by the master storyteller William Trevor

'There is no better short story writer in the English-speaking world' Wall Street Journal

''No matter what,' Julia had said, aware then of what was coming, 'let's always play cards.' And they did; for even with her memory gone, a little more of it each day - her children taken, her house, her flowerbeds, belongings, clothes - their games in the communal drawing room were a reality her affliction allowed.'

A husband sits in Harry's Bar in Venice, thinking of his wife - lost to him now - whose plea has brought him back to one of their favourite haunts. On another table, a young couple quarrel. 'Cheating at Canasta' is the title story of William Trevor's collection, his first since the highly acclaimed A Bit on the Side, and its themes of missed opportunities, the inevitability of change and the powerful but fragmentary quality of our memories are entirely characteristic of his unparalleled oeuvre.

The Children Of Dynmouth

William Trevor (Author)

The Children Of Dynmouth - a classic prize-winning novel by William Trevor

William Trevor's The Children of Dynmouth (Winner of the Whitbread Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize) was first published in 1976 and is a classic account of evil lurking in the most unlikely places. In it we follow awkward, lonely, curious teenager Timothy Gedge as he wanders around the bland seaside town of Dynmouth. Timothy takes a prurient interest in the lives of the adults there, who only realise the sinister purpose to which he seeks to put his knowledge too late.

'A small masterpiece of understatement ... a work of rare compassion' Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times

If you enjoyed The Story of Lucy Gault and Love and Summer, you will love this book. It will also be adored by readers of Colm Toibin and William Boyd.

William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork. He has written eighteen novels and novellas, and hundreds of short stories, for which he has won a number of prizes including the Hawthornden Prize, the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award, the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and the David Cohen Literature Prize in recognition of a lifetime's literary achievement. In 2002 he was knighted for his services to literature. His books in Penguin are: After Rain; A Bit on the Side; Bodily Secrets; Cheating at Canasta; The Children of Dynmouth; The Collected Stories (Volumes One and Two); Death in Summer; Felicia's Journey; Fools of Fortune; The Hill Bachelors; Love and Summer; The Mark-2 Wife; Selected Stories; The Story of Lucy Gault and Two Lives.

Other People's Worlds

William Trevor (Author)

Other People's Worlds by William Trevor - a classic early novel by one of the world's greatest writers

What chance has a nice middle-class woman got against a determined conman?

47-year-old widow, Julia, is about to remarry, much to the delight and relief of her daughters. But her mother has suspicions about Francis which she keeps to herself. Perhaps wrongly: if she'd shared her feelings with her daughter the disaster might have been avoided. Meanwhile there are two other women who have a claim on the would-be bridegroom - and the way things are shaping up it might be one of them, rather than Julia, who comes off worst out of the situation.

William Trevor's brilliant novel explores the small horrors that lie close to the surface of ordinary life.

'A constantly surprising work, pungent with the sense of evil and corruption' John Updike, New Yorker

'Trevor is a master of both language and storytelling' Hilary Mantel

William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, County Cork, in 1928, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He has lived in England for many years. The author of numerous acclaimed collections of short stories and novels, he has won many awards including the Whitbread Book of the Year, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence. He has been shortlisted three times for the Booker Prize: in 1976 with his novel The Children of Dynmouth, in 1991 with Reading Turgenev and in 2002 with The Story of Lucy Gault. He recently received the prestigious David Cohen Literature Prize in recognition of a lifetime's literary achievement.

The Puffin Book of Stories for Six-year-olds

Wendy Cooling (Author) , Steve Cox (Illustrator)

The Puffin Book of Stories for Six-year-olds, edited by Wendy Cooling is essential reading for all six-year-olds!

Fourteen brilliant stories from some of our best-loved authors, including Geraldine McCaughrean, Philippa Pearce and Penelope Lively.

With a Martian in a supermarket, a monkey in trouble, and a magic pearl tree, there's something for everyone to discover in this special collection.

Perfect for six-year-olds to share or read alone.

***With a gorgeous cover illustrated by Nick Sharratt***

Wendy Cooling was educated in Norwich and then spent time travelling the world. On her return to England she trained as a teacher, and taught English in London for many years. She left teaching to work on the promotion of books and reading as Head of the Children's Book Foundation (now Booktrust), and later founded Bookstart, the national programme that helps to bring books to young readers.

Birds of America

Mary McCarthy (Author)

'Fiercely intelligent, insatiably combative, McCarthy's novels invite controversy' Penelope Lively, from the introduction

Peter Levi, a shy and sensitive American teenager, moves to Paris to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, where he is determined to live a life in harmony with his own idealistic views. But the world is changing at breakneck pace, with nuclear war looming abroad and racial tensions simmering at home. Before long, Peter's naïve illusions are shattered, as he finds himself an unwilling participant in an era of extraordinary change.

Birds of America is an unforgettable and deeply moving story of personal and political turmoil; of the strange and surprising nature of growing up; and of the questions we face when we examine who we really are.

Meatless Days

Sara Suleri (Author)

'Some of the more heart-shaking writing about love and grief I've ever read' Kamila Shamsie, from the introduction

Meatless Days is a searing memoir of life in the newly-created country of Pakistan. When sudden and shocking tragedies hit the author's family two years apart, her personal crisis spirals into a wider meditation on universal questions: about being a woman when you're too busy being a mother or a sister or a wife to consider your own womanhood; about how it feels to begin life in a new language; about how our lives are changed by the people that leave them. This is a heart-breaking, hopeful and profound book that will get under your skin.

Last Stories

William Trevor (Author)

In this final collection of ten exquisite, perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil's theft in exchange for his beautiful music. These gorgeous stories - the last that Trevor wrote before his death - affirm his place as one of the world's greatest storytellers.

A Traveller in Time

Alison Uttley (Author)

Penelope lives in the 20th Century, and it is only when she visits Thackers, a remote, ancient farmhouse, that she finds herself travelling back in time to join the lives of the Babington family, and watching helplessly as tragic events bring danger to her friends and the downfall of their heroine Mary, Queen of Scots, whom they are seeking to rescue.

Dog Stories

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

The unforgettable canines gathered here include Kipling's heroically faithful 'Garm', Bret Harte's irrepressible scoundrel of a 'yaller dog' and the aggressively affectionate three-legged pit bull who lives in a block of flats for dogs in Jonathan Lethem's 'Ava's Apartment'. Here are stories which touchingly illuminate the dog's role in the emotional lives of humans, such as Tobias Wolff's 'Her Dog', where a widower shares his grief for his wife with her grieving pet. Here, too, are humorous glimpses of the canine point of view, from O. Henry's tale of a dissatisfied lapdog's escape to P. G. Wodehouse's cheerfully naïve watchdog who simply wants everybody to get along. These writers and others - Ray Bradbury, JamesThurber and Penelope Lively among them - offer imaginative, lyrical and empathetic portraits of man and woman's most devoted companion

Foreign Affairs

Alison Lurie (Author)

'Vinnie Miner, 54-year-old Anglophile professor, is in London on a six-month foundation grant. So is her young colleague, Fred Turner. Vinnie is plain and resignedly self-reliant; Fred is arrestingly handsome and moping after a breakup with his wife. Vinnie and Fred have love affairs in London. Fred's is a fraught liaison with a waitress while Vinnie drifts into a relationship with an engineer from Oklahoma she met on the plane, a brash uneducated stereotypical American who finally beguiles her (and the reader) with his uncomplicated goodness... I devoured the book at a sitting and then went back for a second dip at once' Penelope Lively, Sunday Telegraph

A Country of Refuge

Lucy Popescu (Edited by)

A Country of Refuge is a poignant, thought-provoking and timely anthology of writing on asylum seekers from some of Britain and Ireland’s most influential voices.

Compiled and edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu, this powerful collection of short fiction, memoir, poetry and essays explores what it really means to be a refugee: to flee from conflict, poverty and terror; to have to leave your home and family behind; and to undertake a perilous journey, only to arrive on less than welcoming shores.

These writings are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. The contributors articulate simple truths about migration that will challenge the way we think about and act towards the dispossessed and those forced to seek a safe place to call home.


‘A powerful, and frequently harrowing, collection … I read it with fascination’ – Penelope Lively

‘A beautiful insight into the painful individuality of the refugee’ – Jon Snow

Private Papers

Margaret Forster (Author)

To Penelope Butler the family was all, the sole ambition of her adult life. Three of her four daughters, however, had different ideas. Rosemary rejected it; Jess was destroyed by it; Celia found it eluded her. Only Emily pursued her mother's ideal, with disastrous results.

Penelope begins to record their family story as it unfolds. But when Rosemary discovers these private papers she is enraged by her mother's distortions of the truth and proceeds to tell the story from her perspective. From D-Day on into the turbulent post-war years, a picture emerges not only of a single family in all its complexities, but also of the changing world that shaped their lives.

Shaken and Stirred

Diana Secker Tesdell (Edited by)

In this lively collection, wine snobs receive their comeuppance at the hands of Roald Dahl and Edgar Allan Poe; innocents over-imbibe in tales by Jack London and Alice Munro; riotous partying exacts a comic price in stories by P. G. Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis; Charles Jackson and Jean Rhys chronicle liquor-soaked epiphanies; while John Cheever, Vladimir Nabokov and Robert Coover set their characters afloat on surreal, soul-revealing adventures. Here, too, are well-lubricated tales by Dickens, Twain, Beckett, Colette, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing, Frank O'Connor, Penelope Lively, and many more.

The settings include hotels and restaurants, a wine cellar in Italy, a café in Paris, a bar in Dublin, a New York nightclub, Jazz Age speakeasies, suburban lawn parties and the occasional gaol cell, and are peopled by lovers and loners, barmen and chorus girls, youths taking their first sips and experienced tipplers nursing hangovers.

Whether living it up or drowning their sorrows, the vividly drawn characters in these sparkling pages will leave you shaken and stirred.

Life Class

Pat Barker (Author)

Life Class is the first novel in Pat Barker's Life Class Trilogy - a powerful and unforgettable story of art and war

Spring, 1914. The students at the Slade School of Art gather in Henry Tonks's studio for his life-drawing class. But for Paul Tarrant the class is troubling, underscoring his own uncertainty about making a mark on the world. When war breaks out and the army won't take Paul, he enlists in the Belgian Red Cross just as he and fellow student Elinor Brooke admit their feelings for one another. Amidst the devastation in Ypres, Paul comes to see the world anew - but have his experiences changed him completely?

'Triumphant, shattering, inspiring' The Times

'Barker writes as brilliantly as ever . . . with great tenderness and insight she conveys a wartime world turned upside down'Independent on Sunday

'Vigorous, masterly, gripping' Penelope Lively, Independent

'Extraordinarily powerful' Sunday Telegraph

Other titles in the trilogy:
Toby's Room
Noonday

The Colour of Milk

Nell Leyshon (Author)

The Colour of Milk is the new novel by Orange longlisted author and playwright Nell Leyshon.

'this is my book and i am writing it by my own hand'

The year is eighteen hundred and thirty one when fifteen-year-old Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. A scrap of a thing with a sharp tongue and hair the colour of milk, Mary leads a harsh life working on her father's farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer she is sent to work for the local vicar's invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her - and the need to record it so urgently - are gradually revealed.

'Haunting, distinctive voices... Mary's spare simple words paint brilliant pictures in the reader's mind . . . Nell Leyshon's imaginative powers are considerable' Independent

'Brontë-esque undertones . . . a disturbing statement on the social constraints faced by 19th-century women' FT

'A small tour de force - a wonderfully convincing voice, and a devastating story told with great skill and economy' Penelope Lively

'I loved it. The Colour of Milk is charming, Brontë-esque, compelling, special and hard to forget. I loved Mary's voice - so inspiring and likeable. Such a hopeful book' Marian Keyes

'Brilliant, devastating and unforgettable' Easy Living

Nell Leyshon's first novel, Black Dirt, was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth prize. Her plays include Comfort me with Apples, which won an Evening Standard Award, and Bedlam, which was the first play written by a woman for Shakespeare's Globe. She writes for BBC Radio 3 and 4, and won the Richard Imison Award for her first radio play. Nell was born in Glastonbury and lives in Dorset.

The River

Tricia Wastvedt (Author)

The Orange Prize long listed debut novel by the author of The German Boy

In 1958, in a small Devon village, on an idyllic summer afternoon, two children are drowned. Their parents, Isabel and Robert, are overcome with grief but, as time passes, their tragedy becomes part of the everyday fabric of village life.

One summer's day, thirty years later, Anna arrives. She comes to the village on a whim, hoping to start afresh - and, without telling anyone she is pregnant, goes to live with Isabel. For a time the women find solace in each other's company, but the baby's arrival causes powerful feelings of loss and heartbreak to surface, and Anna must question whether Isabel's feelings towards her child are entirely benign. . .

'Wastvedt, like Alice Sebold in The Lovely Bones, casts a wide net that goes beyond the immediate family. Captivating and evocative' Toronto Globe and Mail

'Accomplished, dramatic, with a finale that Du Maurier herself would have been proud of' Daily Mail

'Moving, impressive, strongly atmospheric. A remarkable achievement' Penelope Lively

Born in 1954, Patricia Wastvedt grew up in Blackheath, south London, and spent her summers in Kent. She has a degree in Creative Arts and an MA in Creative Writing, and her first novel, The River, written in her late forties, was long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, The German Boy, is available in Penguin. She teaches at Bath Spa University, and is also a manuscript editor. She lives and writes in a cottage in Somerset.

22 Britannia Road

Amanda Hodgkinson (Author)

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson is a heartbreaking and powerful novel about wartime secrets and the difficulties of adjusting to postwar life

It is 1946 and Silvana and eight-year-old Aurek board a ship that will take them from Poland to England. Silvana has not seen her husband Janusz in six years, but, they are assured, he has made them a home in Ipswich.

However, after living wild in the forests for years, carrying a terrible secret, all Silvana knows is that she and Aurek are survivors. Everything else is lost. While Janusz, a Polish soldier who has criss-crossed Europe during the war, hopes his family will help put his own dark past behind him.

But the war and the years apart will always haunt each of them unless they together confront what they were compelled to do to survive.


'The characters are so convincing and the writing's so unshowily accomplished that it soon becomes something gripping. An admirable debut' Daily Mail

'A most accomplished first novel. Powerful story-telling and entirely convincing in its evocation of post-war England. Very good' Penelope Lively

'Keep your Kleenex handy reading 22 Britannia Road' Grazia

'An affecting story, extremely well told' The Times


Amanda Hodgkinson was born in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset and grew up in Essex and Suffolk.
She currently lives in south-west France with her husband and two daughters. 22 Britannia Road is her first novel.

The Minotaur

Barbara Vine (Author)

The Minotaur - a thrilling novel from the bestselling queen of crime Barbara Vine

Kerstin Kvist enters crumbling Lydstep Old Hall to live with the Cosways and to act as nurse to John: a grown man fed drugs by his family to control his lunatic episodes. But John's strangeness is grotesquely mirrored in that of his four sisters who roam the dark, mazy Essex country house under the strict gaze of eighty-year-old Mrs Cosway.

Despite being treated as an outsider, Kerstin is nevertheless determined to help John. But she soon discovers that there are others in the family who are equally as determined that John remain isolated, for sinister reasons of their own ...

'The reader is kept in suspense throughout . . . vintage wine from the Rendell vine' Independent

'The Cosway family is a mesmerizing creation... I rushed through the last pages' Penelope Lively, Sunday Times

'Stealthy, credible, ingenious and addictive' Literary Review

'The Rendell/ Vine partnership has for years been producing consistently better work than most Booker winners put together' Ian Rankin

The Minotaur is a modern masterpiece of the crime genre and will leave you gripped from the first page to the last. If you enjoy the novels of P.D. James, Ian Rankin and Scott Turow, you will love this book.

Barbara Vine is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell. She has written fifteen novels using this pseudonym, including A Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet which both won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Her other books include: A Dark Adapted Eye; The House of Stairs; Gallowglass; Asta's Book; No Night Is Too Long; In the Time of His Prosperity; The Brimstone Wedding; The Chimney Sweeper's Boy; Grasshopper; The Blood Doctor; The Minotaur; The Birthday Present and The Child's Child.

Watch the Lady

E C Fremantle (Author)

THE QUEEN'S GODDAUGHTER.
HER MOST TRUSTED MAID.
ADULTRESS.
ENEMY OF THE STATE.

WHO IS THE REAL PENELOPE DEVEREUX?

Penelope Devereux is a legendary beauty in the court of Elizabeth I, with a smile that would light up the shadows of hell. But it's not just her looks which have won her favour with the Queen wing; her canny instinct for being in the right place at the right time, and her skilled political manoeuvrings under the guise of diplomacy, have rendered her a formidable adversary to anyone who stands in her path. Including Elizabeth.

For Penelope must secure the future of the Devereux dynasty at whatever cost. Even treason. And the Queen, a woman she holds responsible for the death of her father, the exile of her mother and her failure to marry the one man she ever truly loved, is just one more pawn in a deadly game.

Walking the knife-edge of court, whilst ensuring that her reckless brother Essex remains the only star in the Queen's firmament - and out of the Tower - Penelope must plan for the inevitable succession of an ailing monarch.

But her secret letters of friendship to a foreign King - one who has a strong claim to the English throne - could see her illustrious family in the gutter and her own head on the block. It would only take a single mistake, a slip of the tongue, an intercepted message for Penelope to become the architect of her downfall.

In a world where sister is turned against brother, husband against wife, courtier against queen, the rules of the game are forever changing.


Discover the truth in Elizabeth Fremantle's stunning new novel about an extraordinary woman who helped change the course of England's history forever.


This sumptuous historical drama is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel and Jessie Burton.


Praise for Watch the Lady
'The research and historical detail are impeccable . . . and fans will enjoy this evocation of Elizabeth's tumultuous court' Times
'A glamourous tale peopled by warrior poets, flamboyant courtiers and shameless loves, it is also sharp, perceptive and dramatic' Sunday Express
'Be transported to the court of Elizabeth I, where Penelope Devereux is prepared to do anything in the scramble for power. Watch The Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle combines fast-paced storytelling with rich period detail' Good Housekeeping
'If you want an immersive read then this is it. The remarkable story of the beautiful Penelope Devereux comes vividly alive, bursting with colour and detail. The reader is transported to the perilous Elizabethan court, with all its plots, treachery and heartbreak, and gains fascinating insights into some of the most important figures of the time. Yet again Elizabeth Fremantle has produced a pacey, powerful narrative that kept this reader riveted throughout' Jane Thynne
'Penelope Devereux, perspicacious, beautiful and muse of Sir Philip Sidney, will stop at nothing for the sake of her family. I was gripped by the tale of risky political and sexual shenanigans in the court of Elizabeth l' Woman and Home
'Penelope is a fascinating character and beautifully drawn in this enthralling, moving and immaculately written novel... Fremantle handles the intriguing with aplomb and it's impossible to read the books without feeling you are living events alongside the characters' Imogen Robertson, Historia
'Fascinating . . . it's a delight to keep Penelope company as she plunges into the intrigues of Elizabeth's court' The History Girls
'Ever since Queen's Gambit took the world of historical fiction by storm 3 years ago, Liz Fremantle's books have been the ones to watch in the world of Tudor fiction. The combination of depth, intelligence and real historical imagination that she brings to bear on the lesser-known (but immensely powerful) women of the Tudor era is unmatched in contemporary writing and gets better with each book. Not that either of the previous ones were sub par - far from it, they were exceptional - but, as with all good writers, the apprenticeship of each book sees its realisation in the one that comes after it and there's a steady rise in the textures and depths and many-layered plot threads. The Lady we watch here is Penelope, sister of the notorious Essex, wife of a man who doesn't want to bed her, lover of those who do - though never the most important one: that love is unrequited and all the more powerful for it. The machinations of Elizabeth's court were never easy, but became positively frenetic as she edged towards death and refused to name a successor and the way the ageing monarch plays Cecil against Essex, as seen through the eyes of the woman who has to navigate a clear path through the chaos is brilliant. In fact, the shift of viewpoint from Penelope to Cecil and back again is the core strength of this book. Neither is an entirely reliable narrator, even to themselves, but taken together, they mesh to make a hologram of a time in history that is endlessly fascinating, but never fully understood. This book is glorious. It will delight fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory alike, but will also garner a whole new audience from those who just love good writing, whatever the genre, whatever the era' Manda Scott
'A wonderful, totally transporting novel that folds you into its world, word by word, page by page, and remains with you long after the last. I absolutely loved this book. Fremantle is a brilliant novelist' Eve Chase, author of Black Rabbit Hall

The Dangerous Edge Of Things

Candida Lycett Green (Author)

1949: one year in the childhood of Candida Lycett Green in the remote village of Farnborough in Berkshire. Here she lives with her father John Betjeman and her mother Penelope Chetwode, in one of the bleakest and highest spots on the windswept downland.Candida runs wild with the 'gang' of village children. Stimulated by regular excursions to the cinema in Wantage, Candida and her best friend June became fascinated by the idea of love. Their romantic imagination is fuelled by the beautiful Ruby Mason, who cleans the cottage of a reclusive scientist, Dr Fox, employed at the neighbouring Harwell Atomic Research Centre. They stealthily engineer a romance between the two - until it is revealed that none of the children's special adult friends are what they seem, and the real world shockingly intervenes to overturn their innocence.

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