Family Album

Family Album

Book - 2009
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A novel of family intrigue from "one of the most accomplished writers of fiction of our day" ( The Washington Post )

All Alison ever wanted was a blissful childhood for her six children, with summers at the beach and birthday parties on the lawn at their family home. Together with Ingrid, the family au pair, she has worked hard to create a real "old-fashioned family life." But beneath its postcard sheen, the picture is clouded by a distant father, Alison's inexplicable emotional outbursts, and long-repressed secrets that no one dares mention. For years, Alison's adult children have protected her illusion of domestic perfection-but as each child confronts the effects of past choices on their current adult lives, it becomes evident that each must face the truth.

Penelope Lively's novels of history, memory, and character have earned her a loyal readership. Like Ian McEwan's Atonement , this novel is a measured, thoughtful look at how events of the past, both small and large, seen and unseen, deeply inform character and the present. Quietly provocative and disturbing, Family Album is a highly nuanced work that showcases a master of her craft.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2009
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780670021246
Call Number: F LIVELY P
Characteristics: 224 p. ; 24 cm


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Jun 01, 2017

An interesting novel but I preferred Moon Tiger, which I think is her best novel by far!

Sep 21, 2014

Mother Alison and au pair Ingrid, who's stayed for 40 years, worked to create a "blissful" childhood for her 6 children. Why, then, are most of them so reluctant to visit, and scattered from Canada to the States to Paris to who knows where? Why don't they keep in touch with each other, and why haven't they given her grandchildren? They can hold it together for short visits, but they don't want to admit to themselves that there are family secrets at the slightly shabby Edwardian mansion in which she raised them, and where their father is a vague figure in the background. Each child gets his or her say over the summer, and the secrets can't be held in. Interesting premise, but it's not my favorite of Penelope Lively's novels; I'm not even sure why. Maybe too many characters to keep track of?

Jul 31, 2014

Excellent book. Finely-drawn, believable characters. A life-time of events and memories told from various viewpoints.

mrsgail5756 Aug 30, 2012

A very good read. I enjoyed this book I would recommend this book for all to read.

Apr 16, 2012

Well , I'm getting to know PL's writing style - she's far more than an accomplished writer . This was not my favorite family , however .

Dec 07, 2010

An lean and elegant read capturing the complexities of family memories

Oct 22, 2010

Gina, second eldest daughter in family of six siblings, narrates the story of life at Allersmead with parents Alison and Charles along with au pair Ingrid. The story is one of memory as each family member in turn relates their take on family events and their own coping being part of Alison's large brood.

If you've ever had a sibling say, ?That's not what happened. It was like this,' then Family Album is for you. While I agree with reviewers who say this is not among Lively's best, it's still very good for its tale-telling of a time recently past for many of us just reaching retirement age. And, with Lively's brilliant satire you'll certainly be entertained for a little while.

Mar 07, 2010

This book relates the memories of six children, their parents, and their au pair during the years the children were growing up. The differences as well as the similarities are remarkable as are the characters, the dialogue, and the humor.


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