Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2000 Women's Prize for Fiction Winner

When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant


Publisher: Plume Books

Length: 260 Pages

About: young woman goes to new Israel state

Style: 1st person

Where: Israel

When: 1946


Publisher’s synopsis:

In the spring of 1946, Evelyn Sert stands on the deck of a ship bound for Palestine. For the twenty-year-old from London, it is a time of adventure and change when all things seem possible. Swept up in the spirited, chaotic churning of her new, strange country, she joins a kibbutz, then moves on to the teeming metropolis of Tel Aviv, to find her own home and a group of friends as eccentric and disparate as the city itself. She falls in love with a man who is not what he seems when she becomes an unwitting spy for a nation fighting to be born.



"This is my story. Scratch a Jew and you've got a story. If you don't like the elaborate picaresques full of unlikely events and tortuous explanations, steer clear of the Jews. If you want things to be straightforward, find someone else to listen to. You might even get to say something yourself. How do we begin a sentence? 'Listen…'"



Linda Grant won Britain's Orange Prize for Fiction for WHEN I LIVED IN MODERN TIMES, and I understand why. It is both a coming of age story, and the story of a country struggling to be born. As someone who grew up on stories of Israel's war for independence, and as a teacher of Israel's history, this book rings true. It doesn't sugarcoat the struggles of immigrants who settled there after World War II, nor does it hide the fact that Jewish terrorists did their best to chase the British out of Palestine so that they could create the country Israel for themselves.

Debbie Ann Weiner,, 31st December 2002


Not so good:

Linda Grant, who on Wednesday won the Orange prize for her novel When I Lived in Modern Times, last night rejected allegations that she plagiarised the work of an American academic.

"What should have been the happiest day of my life has been completely destroyed," she said last night. "Instead of celebrating, I spent it literally with my stomach lurching."  

Maev Kennedy, The Guardian, 8th June 2000


About the author

Linda Grant was born in Liverpool to a family of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants.

She was educated at The Belvedere School (Girls' Day School Trust), read English at the University of York (1972 to 1975), then completed an M.A. in English at McMaster University in Canada. She did post-graduate studies at Simon Fraser University.

In 1985 Grant returned to Britain and became a journalist, working for The Guardian and eventually wrote her own column for eighteen months.



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Page turner







Age guide: 15+



Novels by same author:



























Adaptations: None to date






2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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