'Story-telling is an ingrained habit; I wouldn't know what else to do. But the mythology that is intriguing today is that of imagined alternatives. Somehow, choice and contingency have landed you where you are, as the person that you are, and the whole process seems so precarious that you look back at those climatic moments when things might have gone differently, when life might have spun off in some other direction, and wonder at this apparently arbitrary outcome.' In this fascinating new piece of fiction, Penelope Lively takes moments from her own life and asks 'what if' she had made other choices- what if she hadn't escaped from Alexandria at the outbreak of WWII? What would her life have been like if she had become pregnant when she was 18? If she had married someone else? If she taken a different job? If she had lived her life abroad? In this highly original work, Penelope Lively examines alternative destinies, choices and the moments in our lives when we could have chosen a different path . . .
Penelope Lively grew up in Egypt but settled in England after the war and took a degree in history at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors. She was married to the late Professor Jack Lively, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, and lives in Oxfordshire and London.Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger. Her novels include Passing On, shortlisted for the 1989 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister and Heat Wave. Many of her books, including Going Back, which first appeared as a children's book, and Oleander, Jacaranda, an autobiographical memoir of her childhood days in Egypt, are published in Penguin.Penelope Lively has also written radio and television scripts and has acted as presenter for a BBC Radio 4 programme on children's literature. She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.