How It All Began by Penelope Lively
A Novel

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What Ms. Lively has done in this captivating volume is to use all her copious storytelling gifts to show how a similar kind of random causality rules individual lives, how one unlucky event can set off unexpected chain reactions...
-NY Times

Synopsis

A vibrant new novel from Penelope Lively-a wry, wise story about the surprising ways lives intersect.

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.

 

About Penelope Lively

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PENELOPE LIVELY was born in Cairo, Egypt, and studied at Oxford University. She is the author of many children's books and adult novels, including the Man Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger and The Photograph, a Today show Book Club selection. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a recipient of the OBE and CBE, Lively lives in north London. Visit penelopelively.net.
 
Published January 5, 2012 by Penguin Books. 240 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Sports & Outdoors. Fiction
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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jan 23 2012

What Ms. Lively has done in this captivating volume is to use all her copious storytelling gifts to show how a similar kind of random causality rules individual lives, how one unlucky event can set off unexpected chain reactions...

Read Full Review of How It All Began: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

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