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Moon Tiger ()

Booker Prize Winners (1987)

As this 1987 Booker Prize winner opens, Claudia Hampton, a 76 year old journalist/historian, lies dying in a hospital bed in England. Before she dies, she is determined to write:  "The history of the world as selected by Claudia: fact and fiction, myth and evidence, images and documents."  She takes a kaleidoscope view of history and so her visitors trigger different memories from throughout her life.  The central characters (and they are characters) in her life are her brother Gordon, daughter Lisa, Lisa's father Jasper and the lost love of Claudia's life, Tom Southern, a British tank commander killed in North Africa during WWII.

This book reminded me of, though it's much different than, The Sportswriter or Rabbitt, Run.  Claudia is just such a consummate bitch, that it's hard to develop much empathy for her.  She's infuriating, self contradictory, selfish, condescending, heartless, well, you pick a pejorative.  But Lively is such a wonderful writer that Claudia's life story becomes enthralling.


Grade: (B-)


Penelope Lively Links:

    -REVIEW ESSAY: Lively‚Äôs Art: Passion, gentility, manners, and morals (Kyle Smith, 3/26/12, Weekly Standard)

Book-related and General Links:
    -New York Times review (Ann Tyler)
    -An Author of a Certain Age (NY Times Magazine)
    -INTERVIEW : 'I'm not a historian but I can get obsessively interested in the past'  : Robert McCrum interviews Penelope Lively about  her life as an author, having won the Booker Prize  in 1987 for Moon Tiger, and her new book, A House Unlocked (Robert McCrum, August 26, 2001, The Observer)