Penelope Lively won the Booker, the literary prize for writers in English I respect the most, so she must be worth reading. That was my thought when Consequences fell into my hands. As it turns out this four-generation family saga (done in 268 pages) is a rather slight work whose depth doesn’t begin to match its scope. We begin with a charming romantic scene in St. James park in the nineteen thirties, which romance carries us to a rude Somerset cottage. Then we rush on through mostly predictable relationships, deaths, births, achievements and failures, coming (again rather predictably) back to the Somerset cottage.

Although there are a number of charming scenes and characters throughout, we never spend enough time with any of them to become fully invested. The effect is rather like viewing countries and towns from a train window. Enjoyable, but unmemorable. Certainly not Booker caliber. I guess I should go out and investigate Moon Tiger, the book that won her the prize. But I don’t think I’ll drop everything else to do it.

 Sitting up

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