In her early eighties, Penelope Lively shows no signs of retiring. In 2013 she published a memoir, Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time, but it wasn’t the last word of a life of writing; rather an account of objects and moments from her past that continue to inspire her. Now, almost 20 years since the publication of her last book of short stories, she has rediscovered the form with this superb collection.
David Lodge has excelled at producing wry, literary studies of a certain social stratum of postwar Britain, most notably in the Booker Prize-shortlisted Small World (1984) and Nice Work (1988). Throughout his writing career, Lodge has consistently revealed an acute eye and ear for the telling details that distinguish his characters. So it may come as something of a surprise that Lodge, now 81, is only now publishing his first collection of eight short stories; he seems so perfectly suited to the form.