book number twenty-seven of 2015 + booker winner 1987: moon tiger [penelope lively].

i managed to finish penelope lively’s moon tiger just before my trip home – i don’t like carrying half-read or nearly-finished books on long plane journeys – and today i thought i would share my thoughts on it.

moon tiger was far-and-away my favourite of the – very few – booker winners i have read thus far. it was concise, it was entertaining, and it was enjoyable, which i’ve not been able to say about the previous ones.

a history of the world, yes. and in the process, my own. the life and times of claudia h. the bit of the twentieth century to which i’ve been shackled, willy-nilly, like it or not. let me contemplate myself within my context: everything and nothing. the history of the world as selected by claudia: fact and fiction, myth and evidence, images and documents.

lively’s book is a “history of the world” told from the viewpoint of claudia, living out her final days in london and wanting to share her story with the world. we travel with claudia around the world, we learn about her career as a war correspondent and author, and we meet the people who have populated her life.

claudia is at turns somber and at others amused, but throughout she is entirely unapologetic about the way she has lived her life, always on her own terms. there were times when i grieved alongside her, and there were times when she got on my nerves, but in the end i realized it’s because she was human. she had her ups-and-downs, she had her positive attributes and her flaws, and she was honest about all of it.

in life as in history the unexpected lies waiting, grinning from around corners. only with hindsight are we wise about cause and effect.

there were a few chapters that i found a little slow, and there were a few bits that weirded me out, but on the whole i really enjoyed moon tiger. it covers a surprising amount of depth for only being 200 pages, and i liked that it included perspectives from the people central to claudia’s life. it was a refreshing read after my previous booker experiences, and i am hoping this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the list.

my goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 // average rating is 3.84

currently reading: lauren juliff’s how not to travel the world on my kindle and james joyce’s dubliners. wish me luck.


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