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How It All Began By Penelope Lively,

  • Title: How It All Began
  • Author: Penelope Lively
  • ISBN: 9780670023448
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Hardcover
  • When Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter Rose cannot accompany her employer Lord Peters to Manchester, which means his niece Marion has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is just the beginning in the ensuing chain of life altering events.In this engaging, utterly absorbing and brilliantly told nWhen Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter Rose cannot accompany her employer Lord Peters to Manchester, which means his niece Marion has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is just the beginning in the ensuing chain of life altering events.In this engaging, utterly absorbing and brilliantly told novel, Penelope Lively shows us how one random event can cause marriages to fracture and heal themselves, opportunities to appear and disappear, lovers who might never have met to find each other and entire lives to become irrevocably changed.Funny, humane, touching, sly and sympathetic, How It All Began is a brilliant sleight of hand from an author at the top of her game.
    How It All Began When Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip her daughter Rose cannot accompany her employer Lord Peters to Manchester which means his niece Marion has to go instead which means she sends a text to

    One thought on “How It All Began”

    1. Another charming and erudite novel from Penelope Lively, whose books are always a pleasure to read This one was conceived as an illustration of the butterfly effect Charlotte, an old widow, is mugged and falls, breaking her hip This sets in chain a series of events that demonstrate the interconnected nature of modern lives and the way lives are derailed by random events.This feels like a companion piece to her book Making it Up, in which she imagined alternative versions of her own life that mig [...]

    2. Around the 100 page mark I was wondering with a growing apathy what was at stake in this novel All the characters seemed stuck at a red light Then, of a sudden, the lights turned to green and it flourished into life and I grew immensely fond of all the characters The novel begins when an elderly widow, Charlotte, is mugged and injures her hip As a result she is forced to live with her daughter until she recovers This will precipitate small events that change the lives of a small cast of characte [...]

    3. I loved this book about how an event, in this case a mugging of an elderly lady, can have reverberating affects on so many other people A light read on the surface, but touching on some serious subjects of life, aging, and adultery throw in some of Penelope Lively s humor and you get a delightful book.Charlotte, the mugged 77 year old was my favorite character A retired English teacher, she was forced to go stay with her middle aged daughter because of a broken hip Her remarks on reading and boo [...]

    4. In How it All Began, Penelope Lively proposes the butterfly effect in the small lives of ordinary people When an elderly mother is mugged, her daughter cannot accompany her boss to an appointment This mugging, this random event precipitates a series of life altering events an impending divorce, a new business affiliation, a budding romance, an out of control overdraft, a separation, a new business, an embarrassment and a controversial scholarly article Penelope Lively is at her scintillating bes [...]

    5. Oh, I dearly loved this book about an event which spawned a series of follow on events, some of which could be termed momentous, in the context of a life The story was funny and true and ridiculous and painful and all those things that life can be It was comforting to hear about folks whose lives had hit a major speed bump but who managed, by shuffling the deck, to usher in a new chapter in their lives, one that they liked even better But it is lightly told, and not so painful for us, safely beh [...]

    6. I went ahead and marked this five stars for amazing, because it s rare that a contemporary novel is quotable The main character is an educated British woman in her seventies, recovering from a mugging First sentence The pavement rises up and hits her Terrific, right Here s a bit from when she s ruminating on being in constant pain from the resultant broken hip Ah, old age The twilight years that delicate phrase Twilight my foot roaring dawn of a new life, like, the one you didn t know about We [...]

    7. This is how it all began While the premise of this book the butterfly effect is intriguing, the execution was a real turn off Incomplete sentences and a very British style and I love England kept me from getting into it Take the first page A face is alongside hers Woman Nice woman Or another sentence a few pages later So Just what one didn t want Being a burden and all that What one had hoped to avoid Ugh Sentences are filled with ellipses and narrations are changed abruptly Like when Lively is [...]

    8. Old age is not for wimps Opening this Penelope Lively book I was from the start taken by the character of Charlotte and a feeling of familiarity and appreciation didn t leave for the rest of the novel Set primarily in London, the scenario and the people felt to me like I could have met them and the mugging well, I have had that experience too Charlotte, a very independent minded senior with her wits and sense of humour about her, endears herself immediately to the reader The day time mugging tha [...]

    9. How It All Began kept me engaged enough to keep reading, but I was not always enthralled An annoyance was the author s need to tell me the point of the book, which is how relatively small, random events can cast a wide circle of consequences I might not have minded if she d told me once She seemed, however, to think I might be slow, so she repeated the point several times to be sure I got it Toward the end of the book, she began to lecture about how we like stories to have decisive endings, but [...]

    10. I have been a devoted Penelope Lively fan ever since I read Moon Tiger back in the early 1990s In fact, I ve reread that novel a few times since, and it holds up every time I think it s because there is such authority in her writing Not arrogance Lively writes from a place of genuine understanding of human nature Better yet, she doesn t take herself too seriously Her brilliance is in her ability with nuance, a talent that never fails to impress me In this novel, Charlotte Rainsford is mugged, an [...]

    11. Ever since I turned the last page of Penelope Lively s Booker Prize winning novel Moon Tiger nearly 25 years ago, I was hooked Her peek inside modern British culture was a look at a world that probably no longer exists Lively s characters are complex especially her women and drive the story I ve often envisioned the conversations we d share And so The Road to Lichtfield, The Photograph, and Moon Tiger remain some of my favorite reading memories The author is now eighty and I d thought she was no [...]

    12. Penelope Lively is quickly becoming one of my favorites Her book are smart but readable, insightful and entertaining This one shows the reader the ripple effects of one random incident But it s also contains a wonderful homage to books and reading when Charlotte misses her library at home and struggles to find something to read that fits her mental state Lively s characters are not all likable but I recognize them and felt their struggles and enjoyed their foibles.

    13. How It All Began is Penelope Lively s marvelous new book about the Chaos Theory or if it s understandable you And me too could use the science behind If You Give A Mouse A Cookie as your template No she hasn t become James Gleick on us How It All Began is a novel, a fabulous novel The title is the kind that tells you the whole story and none of the story at the same time I always like that Lively s chaos starts with Charlotte Rainsford s mugging When Charlotte gets mugged her hip is broken, whe [...]

    14. At age 77, Charlotte has retired from a career as the sort of teacher who changes students lives Though widowed, she volunteers to teach adult literacy and is fiercely independent right up to the minute that a mugger throws her to the pavement, breaking her hip Forced to live with her daughter and son in law while recuperating, she agrees to have one of her adult students come to the house for tutoring This sets the plot in motion, affecting the lives of many people around her.I ve always enjoye [...]

    15. 3.5 for me A book group book, we found this one perfect for December Though not all light and fluffy, it was just enough an easy read and nice story not to depress us in the holiday season.Myself, I really loved the opening pages when Charlotte, age 77, the main character, really finds life coming from the ground up to smack her in the face From here, it s sort of a serendipitous story where life offers surprises, the cause and effect or is that affect, I hate this word that can change the way a [...]

    16. I like the concept of the book, and I was hopeful throughout the first half The second half fell apart for me though Anton and Ruth s conversations were hard to get through, and I lost interest I did add the second star for the description of Anton s eyes the forest eyes the lakes the castles that elsewhere.

    17. Somewhere in the , a butterfly flaps its wings and provokes a tornado in Texas So goes the chaos theory a proposition that apparently random phenomena have underlying order It is the premise of Penelope Lively s thoroughly engaging and delightful new book, where at least seven lives are derailed one day in mid April.It all begins when Charlotte Rainsford a 76 year old woman is accosted by an unknown teenage thief on the streets of London and breaks her hip That one random event gives way to a sl [...]

    18. Penelope Lively does a better job than any other author I ve ever read at conveying the obvious rationality of her characters perspectives and inner lives while simultaneously, and respectfully, showing how irrational they are in the light of outward events or other characters views And she does that for dozens of characters in her latest novel How It All Began This book is an excellent read just for entering and sharing peoples simple and normal lives At the same time, those lives encompass so [...]

    19. Lively is the word to describe this engaging novel It describes the ripple effects caused by the mugging of elderly woman, Charlotte The ripples spread outwards towards her immediate family, and beyond The chain of human relationships becomes tangled, fraught, broken and in some cases, mended Set in contemporary London, the author reflects ordinary life in an extraordinary way I was thoroughly entertained and involved in the ongoing dramas and read the book in one sitting A sure sign of a good b [...]

    20. Seventy six year old Charlotte is mugged, resulting in a broken hip This book concerns the rippling impact of that event Her daughter Rose insists that Charlotte must stay with her and her husband Gerry On the day Charlotte is discharged from the hospital, Rose is unable to accompany her employer Lord Henry to Manchester, so Henry s niece Marian goes with him, which results in drastic changes in the lives of Marian, her lover Jeremy and Jeremy s wife Stella Since Charlotte s ability to move is i [...]

    21. I ve liked other titles by this writer but was disappointed with this one A plot has been devised, and characters invented to implement it A nice well educated elderly lady about the author s age, with a middle class background rather like that of the author gets mugged, and some not very earthshaking consequences ensue for various others, including the muggee s daughter, her daughter s employer, her daughter s employer s niece, her daughter s employer s niece s lover, etc None of these characte [...]

    22. Three great things about Penelope Lively s How It All Began 1 It s very funny 2 One always has the sense that she as the writer is completely in control of her characters and the plot and I just read a couple books where I was not totally convinced of this 3 And it s the perfect answer to that silly platitude Everything happens for a reason This novel explores the interconnectedness of people s lives and all the things that happen to them not for a reason, but because of chance and pure dumb luc [...]

    23. This was a book I read as a book club book If it hadn t been for that I would never have finished it It was a slow book in which nothing happened It was almost as if Lively s publishers wanted a book from her, she struggled upon completion added this concept of the butterflys wing effect in an attempt to make it a full book I loved the concept the book should ve made full use of that idea Instead it laboured along, occasionally bringing the concept back to the readers mind with clunky, clumsy, o [...]

    24. I love Penelope Lively s understated yet lyrical writing This is a thoughtful book that explores how a thoughtless mugging reverberates through many lives A wonderful read.

    25. I read one Penelope Lively Moon Tiger and then proceeded to buy half a dozen to read Time to get cracking UPDATE Interesting to follow the consequences of one incident and how it ripples in to so many other lives situations Penelope is brilliant.I loved this every bit as much as Moon Tiger Two for two and on to many .

    26. It s only by chance that I m here This is a light read, but with thoughts that linger not just about chaos and interconnectedness, but about what it means to live through chance occurrences, to age, to remember and to adapt Very enjoyable, and now that I ve found her, I m looking forward to my next Penelope Lively experience.

    27. It s the last day of March and I have found my second special book of the year While I admired Train Dreams for its spare and purposely disconnected narrative, I adored How It All Began for its urban sophistication and its commitment to literature itself One might even consider literature, and literacy, as the leitmotif of this Penelope perfect novel Although ostensibly a 21st century for want of a nail story, which others have called the butterfly effect or chaos theory, both the central charac [...]

    28. Walking into work today, I was struck by how perfect it was high blue skies, warm but not sweltering, sunny That is very similar to what it feels like to step into a Penelope Lively book in the hands of such a master craftswoman and storyteller, the journey gives you a deep sense of readerly peace.Here she plays with the idea of how one event the mugging of an older retired teacher has its butterfly wings ripple effect through several lives The attack means Charlotte has to move in with her daug [...]

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