Tuesday, April 10, 2012

{read: WWII love story} Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

I read Moon Tiger for a book discussion and am so glad I did. I loved Claudia's voice and her irreverent point of view. Some book club members found her unlikeable, but she is just as harsh on herself as she is on others and doesn't hesitate to point out her own shortcomings as a person and especially as a mother. The writing in this short novel is crisp and tight but contains many big ideas as she writes her circular history of time, combining history of the world with her own personal story.

Another thing I loved about this book is the multiple perspectives, which reinforces the maxim that truth is different for all of us, although no less true for the differences. We see different events in her life from her perspective and then from the point of view of the other person, and of course they see things quite differently.

The characters were well developed, and I wanted to spend more time with them. I thought the ending, which loops back to her love affair during World War II (what Claudia calls 'the core' of her life), was an unexpected touch that helped make the story feel complete. While I think I would have been intimidated by Claudia in person, I loved spying on her from the safe remove of a book. This one goes on my all-time favorites list.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 1987)
My rating: 5 stars

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