Van has finished reading…Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

13 Nov

A book that is the fictitious book that’s in the book. Is it? In a way Moon Tiger is a history of the world, though its vein is the protagonist’s own unashamedly solipsistic view. She is a survivor, a compelling protagonist, enjoyable as much for her own revelling in her unreliable-narratorly traits as for her sheer will to be. She is her own Moon Tiger, burning through, circling and circling her existence, stubbornly repelling what she can to the very end.

  And what an end! I can’t recall a more beautifully written coda than this one. It quite simply is, until it is no longer.

  It’s a strange feeling I get with Penelope Lively books – I remember it from ‘According To Mark’ – that immediately I’ve finished it, I could turn it over and begin again. I feel as though all I’ve done is rub the dust off the richness that is there. There’s a sentence about three quarters of the way through that pulled me up. Not that it is incongruous or glorious in an ostentatious way, rather the opposite, and that it was so vehement in its expression.

                In Cairo in 1942 I raged at the continuing universe; I walked, on that appalling day, beside the Nile and the whole beautiful place was an offence – the life, the colour, the smells and sounds, the palms, the feluccas, the kites endlessly circling in the hard blue sky.

  I think it’s those last three syllables that offset the erstwhile beauty of the scene and syncopate the sense of rage.

  I love the cover too.


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