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Pack Of Cards [Paperback]

Penelope Lively
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 25 2000
This is a collection of short stories.

Product Details


Product Description

From the Back Cover

In Pack of Cards, Penelope Lively introduces the reader to slivers of the everyday world that are not always open to observation, as she delves into the minutiae of her characters' lives. Whether she writes about a widow on a visit to Russia, a small boy's consignment to boarding school, or an agoraphobic housewife, Penelope Lively takes the reader past the closed curtains, through the locked door, into a world that seems at first mundane and then, at second glance, proves to be uniquely memorable.

"Inspired . . . entertaining . . . an abundantly rich collection . . . Penelope Lively writes beautifully with meticulous detachment."-The New York Times Book Review

"The extraordinary power of Lively's writing is such that these small intrusions upon small lives take on a nearly surreal clarity and sense of horror. . . . Nearly every tale is flawless; nearly every one depends upon some sly or uncanny revelation."-The Washington Post Book World

"The precise image, the unexpected detail, compassion without sentimentality, are only a few of the elements that make these stories a celebration of narrative art."-Publishers Weekly

"These witty, profoundly civilized stories display Lively's compassion, intelligence, and versatility. . . . This captivatingly intelligent collection confirms Lively's place as one of Britain's most imaginative and important contemporary writers."-Library Journal

"Pack of Cards confirms her as the most original and piercing writer now working in that most unsparing of genres [short stories]. . . . She leaves her characters sustaining each other precariously, connected by familiarity, if not emotion. However wicked her insight into pretension, her compassion always rules. These vignettes of the human condition and of very human responses to it are absorbing, caring, and careful."-The Times (London)

Penelope Lively was born in Cairo in 1933 and spent her childhood there. She holds a degree in modern history from Oxford University and is the author of eleven acclaimed novels, including According to Mark, Judgement Day, Perfect Happiness, Passing On, The Road to Lichfield, and the Booker Prize winner, Moon Tiger. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Penelope Lively 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, three granddaughters and three grandsons, and lives in London. She has written many prize-winning novels and collections of short stories for both adults and children. Moon Tiger won the 1987 Booker Prize. Penelope Lively's most recent book, Making It Up, is available now in Penguin paperback.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive Writer with Consistent Style Aug. 17 2002
Format:Paperback
Lively's complete short stories (they're all here) showcase how well she writes.
Lively is especially adept at illustrating how a person comes to change (change one's mind, change one's attitude, fall out of love, grow up, et cetera). Lucky for the reader, many if not all of these stories work with the theme of how a person does change. Again and again, we see that she is remarkably good at constructing the feelings and thoughts of adolescents, and this reviewer suspects it is partly because Lively has indelible memories of her own amazing childhood; read also her Oleander, Jacaranda autobiographical work, hinted at in the marvelous short story about an English girl returning from a childhood in colonial India.
Lively is purely talented as a wordsmith, with amazing economy and clever, rather elegantly composed dialogue. The book is excellent from start to finish.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute & Delightful Perfection! Jan. 24 2000
Format:Paperback
In this collection of short stories, Penelope Lively conjurs up worlds and characters and prose that touch the heart and often bring laughter and tears. The deftness of the writing is astonishing. This book is a perfect bedside companion for all seasons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Collection! May 8 1999
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read! Penelope Lively is right on target in terms of believable settings and trenchant characterization with one story in particular, "Nothing But the Samovar", being one of the most memorable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive Writer with Consistent Style Aug. 17 2002
By Renee Thorpe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lively's complete short stories (they're all here) showcase how well she writes.
Lively is especially adept at illustrating how a person comes to change (change one's mind, change one's attitude, fall out of love, grow up, et cetera). Lucky for the reader, many if not all of these stories work with the theme of how a person does change. Again and again, we see that she is remarkably good at constructing the feelings and thoughts of adolescents, and this reviewer suspects it is partly because Lively has indelible memories of her own amazing childhood; read also her Oleander, Jacaranda autobiographical work, hinted at in the marvelous short story about an English girl returning from a childhood in colonial India.
Lively is purely talented as a wordsmith, with amazing economy and clever, rather elegantly composed dialogue. The book is excellent from start to finish.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute & Delightful Perfection! Jan. 24 2000
By Tom O'Leary - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this collection of short stories, Penelope Lively conjurs up worlds and characters and prose that touch the heart and often bring laughter and tears. The deftness of the writing is astonishing. This book is a perfect bedside companion for all seasons.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not all great, but a few gems May 16 2013
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A book of short stories, not all of them memorable, but two of them stuck in my mind. One was "A Long Night at Abu Simbel," in which a group of sniffy, older English travelers are stranded at the airport in Abu Simbel, Egypt, when their youthful tour guide gets so fed up with them that she abandons the group while they're still visiting the temples, and escapes in the company of another tour group. (How she's able to do this is never made clear.) The rest of the story consists of the efforts of the abandoned group to survive the night in this rudimentary airport: their in-group conflicts, confrontations with indifferent Egyptian airport personnel, nearly non-existent sanitary facilities, etc.

The best story is "The French Exchange," which deals with an appallingly dumb, awkward, self-absorbed and ignorant teenage English girl named Anna who is given the task of keeping a male French exchange student company on a picnic that involves several English families. At first the girl feels superior to the French student, who has pimples and, in the girl's opinion, a hopelessly bad haircut and even worse shoes. But in the course of a trying afternoon, the girl slowly realizes that the French boy is not at all ill at ease; he's smart, thoughtful and poised, and he finds the English amusing and rather ridiculous. To her horror, she becomes aware that it's HE who feels superior to HER.

Lively is an excellent writer who is particularly good at conveying subtle nuances of feeling and interrelations among individuals.
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