Ammonites and Leaping Fish : A Life in Time, Paperback

Ammonites and Leaping Fish : A Life in Time Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


"Sharp, unsentimental and ruefully funny. A fascinating portrait not only of Lively but of the times through which she has lived". (Daily Telegraph). "Clever and poignant ...there is much to enjoy. This is Lively at her best". (Sunday Express). In this powerful and compelling 'view from old age', Penelope Lively, at eighty, reports back on what she finds.

There are meditations on what it is like to be old as well as on how memory shapes us.

There are intriguing examinations of key personal as well as historical moments she has lived through and her thoughts on her own bookishness - both as reader and writer.

Lastly, she turns to six treasured possessions to speak eloquently about who she is and where she's been - fragments of memories from a life well lived. "A superb study of memory and of her own voyage into the ninth decade of her life.

Lively is a compelling, vitally interested witness to time past". (Helen Dunmore, Observer, Books of the Year). "Enthralling. Will delight all those who love Lively's novels". (Daily Mail).


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages, illustrations (black and white)
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Autobiography: general
  • ISBN: 9780241966983



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An intriguing book by a writer looking at what old age implies. This is both physically (in terms of the body and possessions accumulated) and memory. Some interesting ideas, including how we want a story arc so much that real life can seem to be unreal because it doesn;t have that logical arc, things happen one after the other, they don;t have to make sense in the way one expects them to do so in a story. The passage on memory is excellent, the concept of different memory types, especially autobiographical memory, was very inventive. But why we can't remember names is still a mystery. And she has such amazing memories having lived such an interesting life.