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Consequences Hardcover – May 31, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (May 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670038563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670038565
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Booker and Whitbread prize–winner Lively begins her 14th novel, a multigenerational love story, in a London park in 1935, ends it nearly 70 years later after covering several lifetimes of love and heartbreak. The story starts when Lorna Bradley and Matt Faraday meet in St. James Park; they are instantly drawn to one another despite her upper-crust upbringing and Matt's "tradesman" profession. After their marriage, they settle in the country where Matt works as an engraver and Lorna fulfills her domestic role as a wife and mother to their daughter, Molly. It is an idyllic situation until Matt is drafted and sent to Egypt, where he is killed in action. Lorna and young Molly relocate to London, and Lorna works with Matt's friend Lucas at his small printing press. Predictably, Lucas and Lorna marry, but she dies giving birth to Simon. The narrative diverges as grown-up Molly finds employment as a library assistant and has an affair with a wealthy man who fathers her child, Ruth. Grown and with children of her own, Ruth's curiosity about her ancestors sends her on a journey that brings the novel full circle. Lively (A Stitch in Time; Moon Tiger) has crafted a fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

In spare, elegant prose, Booker Prize-winner Penelope Lively (Moon Tiger, 1987) examines the nature of happiness and romantic love against the fast-moving zeitgeist of 20th-century England. Lively's characters are engaging and likable-so much so, in fact, that it can be difficult to let one generation go as the next takes center stage. A few critics lamented the swift pace and brevity of Lively's 14th novel-a whirlwind of 70 years in 258 pages-but her painstaking plotting eases the reader through the different eras she so accurately describes. The magical, passionate story of Lorna and Matt may be the most captivating, but readers will no doubt be moved by the tales of all three generations.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I just didn't care what happened to any of them.
J. Rosenberg
The connection between the reader and the characters gets lost in the attempt to tell a story with too few personal details.
BP
This was a good book group read which created lively discussion.
L. M. Keefer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Normally, I never read other reviews before writing my own, for fear they will inadvertently change what I am going to say. This time, for some reason, I read the "Editorial Reviews," and I am horrified.

"Consquences" is not meant to be a "sweeping saga of several generations of women." Instead, it is the measured, thoughtful look at people, men and women, whose entire lives are changed by chance--a rest on a park bench, a chance meeting at a job, a problem at a poetry reading. And in each case, the protagonists themselves, and yes, particularly the women, realize that if not for this tiny happenstance, their lives would have been that of somebody else. For instance, if you make a mistake in sleeping with a man you do not really love, but that relationship results in a beloved daughter that you cherish forever, was the initial situation truly a mistake?

If a bored young woman hadn't run out of the house in tears after a fight with her mother, would she have met the love of her life?

And so on and so forth. Woven throughout the novel are the stories of four women, beginning with Lorna as mentioned above, who escapes her rigidly upper-class family in pre-war England to settle down with an equally young artists in a bare-bones cottage. They have a daughter, whose fate is similarly sealed, as is that of HER daughter...and all of these quick quirks of time, so fleeting, have changed every life.

I found the book well-written as always, and absolutely fascinating. It is well worth the read and leaves one thinking in the end.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are in the mood for an intelligent romance that is full of interesting characters, amply emotional but seldom sappy, you will enjoy Penelope Lively's CONSEQUENCES. All the more so if (like me) you have a British connection or have overlapped the three generations that the author describes. Her subject is family, and the continuation of family over time. The novel opens with a young woman, Lorna, meeting her future husband on a London park bench, some years before the Second World War. It continues with her daughter Molly, and ends with her grand-daughter Ruth who, in the first years of the new milennium, reaches a beautiful epiphany that brings the story round full circle.

The title refers to family game a little like Mad Libs that the author must have played as a child. Stock questions are asked, beginning: "Mr. ___ met Miss ___ at ___". Players write their answer to each blank on a sheet of paper, which they fold over and hand to the next person. After the narrative passes through courtship and marriage, the fun comes when players unfold the papers and read out the mismatched tales that result. One of the last questions in the sequence is "And the consequence was ___". Lively's point is that the consequences of falling in love are by no means predictable even within one generation, let alone over three, but they are nonetheless emotionally linear and conceal a meaning that is there if you look for it.

The subject of families is all the more interesting here in that this one is almost the opposite of the traditional family tree spreading outwards with ever-widening branches. Lorna essentially breaks with her upper-middle-class family in order to get married, and for one reason and another none of the subsequent generations is very large.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By readernyc on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had a flu; it was New Years' Eve and everyone was out having fun or no fun. I had to admonish myself not to go the route of self-pity and so I read Consequences right through, losing myself to Penelope Lively's three decades cast of characters.

Although falling in love via Lively is somewhat formulaic I found this book's characters quite wonderful. From Lorna and Matt, whose romance is the first and very well developed, to daugher Molly, who finds love rather later in life, to the granddaughter Ruth, whose story was most obviously plotted, I felt all were interesting people, living from 1935-2001+ and it kept my interest on a pretty hot boil.

Though as David Denby, the film critic observed about the popular Mexican film (name?) that you can't have fate and formulaic together, I will post the film's name when it comes to me: I also enjoyed said unnamed film as much as I did this novel. It was in fact rather comforting to see how falling in love via this author is so very sweet even as it has consequences and I also liked very much arriving back at the beginning here with the third generation living in the same place with the same art we saw being made at the beginning. I highly recommend this book and once "in" it is pretty great and definitely involving, many well drawn bohemian characters.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
4.5 stars

"Consequences: Something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition.
The relation of a result to its cause.
A logical conclusion or inference." Dictonarly.com

"The women are buffeted by events but do not break. The consequences come from their refusal to conform; which generally leads to happiness." Ruaridh Nicoll.

Penelope Lively manages to tell a story of three generations of women, from the early 1930's to the present. The book is always emotionally full. Each sentence gives the feel of conveying the story and emotions of the moment; it's describing without being fussed over. The combination of personal life and historical events is Penelope Lively's forte in fiction This latest story begins in 1935, with an unhappy rich girl, Lorna, sits weeping on a bench in St James's Park. Nearby, a young man, Matt, sketches the ducks. "Their accidental meeting will later be described as the opening of a game of consequences, from which flows a long, rich narrative." Livley. Lorna and Matt and their child, Molly. Molly develops into a a beautiful young woman and has a child out of wedlock. Later on Molly marries and her life begins again. Ruth, the daughter carries on the tradition of independence and marries, has children and the natural consequences follow.

'Consequences' has a great feel and story lines. For me,it falls short of developing the characters in depth. The story jumps from one decade to the next. Penelope Lively replays memories. Penelope Lively sets her novel in the lovely lands of England.

"And "Consequences," despite its shadows, is also a joyous ever-widening dance.
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