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

1987 Booker Prize Winner

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively


Publisher: Deutsch

Length: 224 pages

About: Dying historian writes her own history

Style: 1st person

Where: England, India and Egypt

When: 1930s-1980s



Publisher’s synopsis:

Claudia Hampton has lived a full life as historian, reporter, lover, mother. Now she is dying in a London hospital, where she remembers the events in her life, particularly a romance with a tank commander during World War II, a passion that defined much of the rest of her life.




Chronology irritates me. There is no chronology inside my head. I am composed of a myriad Claudias who spin and mix and part like sparks of sunlight on water. The pack of cards I carry around is forever shuffled and re-shuffled; there is no sequence, everything happens at once. The machines of the new technology, I understand, perform in much the same way: all knowledge is stored, to be summoned up at the flick of a key. They sound, in theory, more efficient. Some of my keys don’t work; others demand pass-words, codes, random unlocking sequences. The collective past, curiously, provides these. It is public property, but it is also deeply private. We all look differently at it. My Victorians are not your Victorians. My seventeenth century is not yours … The signals of my own past come from the received past. The lives of others slot into my own life. I, me. Claudia H.




First of all, Lively's writing is incredible. Her descriptions of characters and her eye for detail bring the most everyday situations to life. You know these people; you can feel Lisa's pain especially at growing up in the shadow of her flamboyant mother, a woman who doesn't want her daughter to call her mother because it's just too ordinary, and ordinary is what Claudia can never be. Although Tom is the lover of her life, the man for whom she pines to her dying breath, the real love of her life is her brother Gordon, the only relationship that lasts.  

Bostonbibliophile, May 11th 2011 for full review click here


Not so good:

While readers who come to hear an author discuss his or her book at the Guardian book club are usually fans, those who contribute to the blog on the book club website are sometimes detractors. The impatient and unimpressed are at least as likely to take to the keyboard as the enthusiastic, especially if the book in question has been garlanded with any awards. So there is something unusual about the unanimity of readers writing about Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger on the book club website. Contributors all wanted to express their admiration – but also their sense that Lively's novel has not had its critical due.

Guardian book club, John Mullan 22nd May 2010 for full review click here


About the author

Penelope Lively was born in March 1933 in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She subsequently read Modern History at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. Penelope Lively lives in London.


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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.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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