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Family album
Penelope Lively
Adult Fiction LIVELY

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Summary: A novel of family intrigue from "one of the most accomplished writers of fiction of our day" ( The Washington Post ) All Alison ever wanted was a blissful childhood for her six children, with summers at the beach and birthday parties on the lawn at their family home. Together with Ingrid, the family au pair, she has worked hard to create a real "old-fashioned family life." But beneath its postcard sheen, the picture is clouded by a distant father, Alison's inexplicable emotional outbursts, and long-repressed secrets that no one dares mention. For years, Alison's adult children have protected her illusion of domestic perfection-but as each child confronts the effects of past choices on their current adult lives, it becomes evident that each must face the truth. Penelope Lively's novels of history, memory, and character have earned her a loyal readership. Like Ian McEwan's Atonement , this novel is a measured, thoughtful look at how events of the past, both small and large, seen and unseen, deeply inform character and the present. Quietly provocative and disturbing, Family Album is a highly nuanced work that showcases a master of her craft.


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main characters Allison Harper
Female
Married
Has six children; worked hard to create a real old fashioned family life; persuaded her husband to buy an Edwardian home; has emotional outbursts.
Homemaker

Charles Harper
Male
Married
Allison's husband; writes historical tomes in his study; doesn't remember what ages his children are; distant.
Historian

Ingrid
Female
Scandinavian
Allison's au pair.
Nanny

Paul Harper
Male
Oldest of six kids; mother's favorite.

Clare Harper
Female
Youngest of six children; her parentage involves a family secret concerning Ingrid.

Gina Harper
Female
Age: 39
Second-oldest; planned her life far away from her family.
Journalist



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