Colourful strands

A Victorian girl stitching a sampler (credit:
Victorian girl stitching a sampler (credit:

Penelope Lively A Stitch in Time
Mammoth 2000 (1976)

Though I haven’t yet read it Penelope Lively’s 2013 memoir, Ammonites and Leaping Fish: a Life in Time, picks up some up the themes that permeate her 1976 Whitbread Children’s Book Award winner; growing old, books, her cat, ammonites of course, all what has been described as “her identifying cargo of possessions”. Ostensibly a ghost story this is more about what it’s like to be a solitary bookish child on the cusp of maturity, all told with sensitivity and poetry, so much so that it’s hard not to read aspects of her own childhood into this book. Her parents took what has been called “a rather inactive role” in the author’s life during her upbringing in pre-war Egypt; she describes it as “a childhood with enormous opportunities for solitude and imagination,” during which she spent “long hours just playing alone, building elaborate stories in my mind around my toy animals.”
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