The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

Book - 2017
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"A glimmering collection of new short fiction from the Booker Prize winner and national bestselling author of How It All Began In such acclaimed novels as The Photograph, Family Album, and How It All Began, Penelope Lively has captivated readers with her singular blend of wisdom, elegance, and humor. Now, in her first story collection in decades, Lively takes up themes of history, family, and relationships across varied and vividly rendered settings. In the title story, a Mediterranean purple swamp hen chronicles the secrets and scandals of Quintus Pompeius's villa, culminating with his narrow escape from the lava and ash of Vesuvius. "Abroad" captures the low point of an artist couple's tumultuous European road trip, trapped in a remote Spanish farmhouse and forced to paint a family mural and pitch in with chores to pay for repairs to their broken-down car. Other stories reveal friends and lovers in fateful moments of indiscretion, discovery, and even retribution--as in "The Third Wife," when a woman learns her husband to be a serial con artist and turns a house hunting trip into an elaborately staged revenge trap"-- Provided by publisher.


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Jun 28, 2018

A good collection of stories, mostly about relationships.

SPL_Melanie Dec 08, 2017

I love Penelope Lively so I knew I'd want to read this as soon as I could get my hands on it. It didn't disappoint! A collection of stories which cover many areas -- even a ghost story makes it way in there -- but all told with her sharp eye on history and memeory. A little edgier than her usual style at times, especially in the first tale, but definitely a collection worth seeking out.

Sep 28, 2017

I had read Penelope Lively years ago, and am glad I have remembered her with this book. More than stories on couples, this book of short stories is a fascinating exploration with wildly different contexts to explore the theme of POINT OF VIEW. To describe the eruption of Mount Vesuvius from the point of view of a purple swamp hen is just incredible. Who else would think of that? Every single story in this collection tells a message from a surprising point of view. I enjoyed them all.

Aug 22, 2017

A great little collection of stories, mostly about couples and how they do or don't resolve their differences. Some are poignant, some more downright funny, but all are entertaining.


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