The Road to Litchfield by Penelope Lively - 1977 - Short Listed for The Man Booker Prize
I am glad to have been induced by a flash sale to acquire the Kindle Edition of her novel The Road to Litchfield. I wish now on a long ago literary trip to London I had made a side trip to the Samuel Johnson Museum in Litchfield. The title gave me a clue that history will Play a big part in the novel.
The central characters is Anne Linton, forty married with children, a history teacher at a ptivate school. Her mother is deceased and her fsther is now confined to a Nursing Home with a very bad case of alzheimer with severe memory loss. When she goes to visit, most of time he does not know her. As she begins to sort through his finances she is lead to discover her father had a mistress for years. In his bank records there is a monthly check to her. She also does not know her husband had been having a long term affair. Her brother, a TV producer is a bit of a playboy. They talk about their childhood.
Anne is involved with a project aimed at saving a 15th century House from being torn down by a develolper. In the mean time Anne is terminated from her job as a history teacher. She is told that students now cannot understand traditional cronologically taught history.
Her brother is putting on a historical drama designed to entertain more than inform.
All this is a very elegantly tied together. The characters are well developed.
Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.
Her other books include Going Back; Judgement Day; Next to Nature, Art; Perfect Happiness; Passing On; City of the Mind; Cleopatra’s Sister; Heat Wave; Beyond the Blue Mountains, a collection of short stories; Oleander, Jacaranda, a memoir of her childhood days in Egypt; Spiderweb; her autobiographical work, A House Unlocked; The Photograph; Making It Up; Consequences; Family Album, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award, and How It All Began.
She is a popular writer for children and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award. She was appointed CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List, and DBE in 2012.
Penelope Lively lives in London. She was married to Jack Lively, who died in 1998.