The Photograph

Genre: Fiction; Author: Penelope Lively; Publisher: Viking

Despite her last name, the deserved Booker Prize winner’s literary reputation hasn’t exactly been built on her humor or pep. Rather, her gifts lie in exploring quiet characters who engage almost entirely in internal dialogues. In her latest novel, the structure–one hesitates to say plot–revolves around a college professor who discovers a photograph of his beautiful, flighty wife, Kath, with another man. Kath also happens to be dead, which makes her a perfect obsession for the other characters drawn into the drama. As told from the perspectives of Kath’s ex-lover, sister, niece, and friends, The Photograph offers an unflinching meditation on marriage and family.

Originally posted June 13 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT

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