Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A House Unlocked by Penelope Lively

A House Unlocked (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Penelope Lively, Lisette Lecat (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
170569,943 (3.83)12
Title:A House Unlocked
Authors:Penelope Lively
Other authors:Lisette Lecat (Narrator)
Info:Washington, D.C. : National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, 2007. Recorded from: 1st American ed. New York : Grove Press, c2001
Collections:Your library

Work details

A house unlocked by Penelope Lively (2001)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
Catching up with a big backlog of read books, hence very short writeups. Not as good, or nearly as enthralling, as Oleander, Jacaranda, the memoir about Lively's childhood in Egypt, but still an interesting read. This bit of non fiction is basically a chat about all kinds of changes in the twentieth century presented as a ramble around her grandmother's Somerset home. It goes into a bit of a (gentlewomanly) rant in places.
  nocto | Dec 8, 2010 |
An intriguing way to write both history and autobiography. ( )
  LaurieRKing | Mar 10, 2010 |
It's hard to categorize this book. Penelope Lively herself describes it as fiction, but it's not really. Not in the traditional sense. It's imagined social history, based on observations and facts. Faction? I broke the "Rule of 50" on this one. I read only 30 pages before giving up, and I'm not yet (and probably never will be) 70 - the age declared by Nancy Pearl's rule as one at which you only need to read 30 pages to make a decision. Of course the principle behind Pearl's rule is that the older you get, the less you can afford to waste time reading books you really don't like. I claim an exemption because I started reading late in life, and I expect to die young.

OK, on to my next book in my Festival of Lively Reading: "According to Mark" (by Penelope Lively, of course!) ( )
  oldblack | Aug 29, 2009 |
This is such an interesting book! Lively is one of my favourite British authors, and this book is woven around the family home in Somerset that her grandparents bought in 1923. She uses it to show how apparently unchanging buildings and landscapes can reveal both momentous events in history and changes in technology from trains to needlecraft.
See more at http://anzlitlovers.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/a-house-unlocked-by-penelope-lively... ( )
  anzlitlovers | May 15, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
IN MEMORY J. F. L., B. M. R., R. B. R.
First words
It has always seemed to me that one effective way of writing fiction is to take the immediate and particular and to give it a universal resonance - to so manipulate and expand personal experience that it becomes relevant to others.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014100164X, Paperback)

The only child of divorced parents, Penelope Lively was often sent to stay at her grandparents' country house Golsoncott. Years later, as the house was sold out of the family, she began to piece together the lives of those she knew fifty years before. In a needlework sampler, she sees her grandmother and the wartime children that she sheltered under her roof in 1940. Potted meat jars remind her of the ritual of doing the flowers for church. The smell of the harness room brings her Aunt Rachel - avant-garde artist, fervent horserider - vividly back to life. In "A House Unlocked", Penelope Lively delves into the domestic past of her former home, and tells of her own youth and the contrasts between life today and the way they lived then.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"'I thought that I would see if the private life of a house could be made to bear witness to the public traumas of a century'. Here Penelope Lively recalls Golsoncott, the country house in Somerset her grandparents bought in 1923. Through the sometimes strange, unfamiliar articles there - the gong stand, the picnic rug, the potted meat jars and bon bon dishes - she charts the social changes and transforming moments of the twentieth century. Changing attitudes to social class, the tension between town and country, how one learns to see the world: all are examined in this eloquent, fascinating memoir."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 avail.
15 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
1 1
2 1
2.5 1
3.5 3
4 9
4.5 1
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,176,671 books! | Top bar: Always visible