Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir

Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir by Penelope Lively
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this memoir written by the wonderful novelist Penelope Lively, she describes so accurately the aspects of growing old. She was born only four years before me, so it was especially meaningful to me to read her views on living in these times and reflecting on the past. "The point here is that age may sideline, but it also confers a sort of neutrality; you are no longer out there in the thick of things, but able to stand back, observe, consider."

Lively also delves into memory, her childhood in Egypt, her love of gardens, books she admires and how she chooses topics for her own novels.

What I enjoyed most in Lively's memoir is her life-long love of books and how old age cannot diminish that aspect of her life. "Reading in old age is doing for me what it has always done - it frees me from the closet of my own mind. Reading fiction, I see through the prism of another person's understanding; reading everything else I am traveling - I am traveling in the way that I still can: new sights, new experiences."

"My point here is to do with the needs of old age; there is what you can'do, there is what you no longer want to do, and there is what has become of central importance. Others may have a game of bowls, or baing cakes, or carpentry, or macrame, or watercolors. I have reading."


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