Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dancing Fish and Ammonites-Penelope Lively

Dancing Fish and Ammonites-Penelope Lively

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 240
gender: F
nationality: UK
year: 2015

A memoir in four parts in which Lively explores aging, memory, writing, and what objects can tell us about ourselves.

I've admittedly not read any of Lively's books but if they're anything like her memoir I have many happy times ahead. Lively is clearly a well-read and thoughtful person who blends her own anecdotes with things she's read, things she's learned, and the people she's known to create fascinating, occasionally meandering, explorations of what memory gives us and what age provides for us. She writes beautifully, elegantly, and her arguments are compelling and convincing in a way that I'd never be able to portray in a review. Even though I am not even remotely near Lively's age, her musings on old age were fascinating even as I recognized nothing of myself. I didn't need to. As an archaeologist, I found a lot to contemplate and especially delighted in her last section which details the provenance of six objects in her life and why they have been collected and what they say about her. I ended up feeling like here is a lady I'd like to invite over for a coffee and then I'd bring her to work with me and she'd have such interesting ways to approach the archaeological ceramics I spend my life trying to connect to people. This is a sign of a good book, I want to interact some more with Lively and know more.

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