How It All Began, by Penelope Lively

Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, and this incident spread ripples of effects into the lives of those she knows, and those they know: Charlotte's daughter Rose has to miss work, meaning that Henry has to rely on his daughter Marion, who sends a text to her lover Jeremy, which is picked up by his wife Gill... And Charlotte, having moved into Rose's home, does some home-tutoring for foreign student Anton, who strikes up a relationship with Rose.

Bought this after finishing Family Album which I enjoyed so much. This one was at least as good, maybe better.

I worried that perhaps some of the storylines would intermix as they progressed, with Anton meeting Henry or something, but (rightly) Lively didn't do this. The overall concept didn't seem too contrived and you get the feeling that Lively could make anything interesting and readable.

Several of the characters in the book themselves muse about how their lives and life stories are shaped by seemingly inconsequential events (the "butterfly effect"), so it does feel a little bit that the point is being hammered home.

But all of the separate threads were compelling, and the book was moving, funny and sad. Much of it was read with a smile on my face. Basically a delicious read.

Completed : 06-Jul-2013

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