• $11.99

Publisher Description

A vibrant new novel from Penelope Livelya wry, wise story about the surprising ways lives intersect

Look out for Penelope Lively’s new book, The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories.

When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true; an old-guard historian tries to recapture his youthful vigor with an ill-conceived idea for a TV miniseries; and a middle-aged central European immigrant learns to speak English and reinvents his life with the assistance of some new friends.

Through a richly conceived and colorful cast of characters, Penelope Lively explores the powerful role of chance in people's lives and deftly illustrates how our paths can be altered irrevocably by someone we will never even meet. Brought to life in her hallmark graceful prose and full of keen insights into human nature, How It All Began is an engaging, contemporary tale that is sure to strike a chord with her legion of loyal fans as well as new readers. A writer of rare wisdom, elegance, and humor, Lively is a consummate storyteller whose gifts are on full display in this masterful work.

Fiction & Literature
January 5
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

triceperl ,

How it all began

Fair book. A bit hard to follow from the constant switching of narrator. Story line was good but it was difficult to connect with any individual character.

123MOL ,

How It All Began

The version of this novel that I downloaded to iPad is the reason I will never surrender completely to the e-book. The text is interrupted with squares and periods leaving one to wonder what is missing. EXTREMELY ANNOYING. At a bookstore I would get a refund for this mess. I hate to rate a book based on the faults of electronic publishing but, after all, presentation is part of the artwork.

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