Making It Up
Penelope Lively
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Buy *Making It Up* online

Making It Up
Penelope Lively
224 pages
October 2006
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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The latest genre-bending novel from Penelope Lively (Beyond The Blue Mountains, Pack Of Cards and Other Stories, The Road To Lichfield, The Photograph, Tiger Moon) is an engrossing tale of how the author imagined her life would be if she followed the different paths in life she didnít take - like leaving Cairo for Cape Town instead of Palestine, which is what she really did. Or what if her soon-to-be husband was captured in Korea? These are just a couple of the many struggles Lively grapples with in Making It Up. In the preface, Lively explains the concept of the book:

ďThis book is fiction. If anything, it is anti-memoir. My own life serves as the prompt; I have honed in upon the rocks, the rapids, the whirlpools, and written alternative stories. It is a form of confabulation. That word has a precise meaning: in psychiatric terminology, it refers to the creation of imaginary remembered experiences which replace the gaps left by disorders of the memory. My memory is not yet disordered; this exercise in confabulation is a piece of fictional license.Ē
The mesh of real life events being used as an impetus for being transformed into fiction is an interesting concept, but I canít say itís always an exciting one. There are eight chapters giving us eight stories. Most have a brief synopsis from Lively explaining what was altered (confabulated) and what was real. Baskin Robbins is famous for its thirty-one flavors, so if Lively is a flavor of writing you enjoy then by all means check this book out. Overall, Making It Up as an experiment of confabulation didnít tickle my fancy but it is chock full of eloquent writing sure to please long-time fans.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2005

Also by Penelope Lively:

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