It's the disjunction between time and memory that intrigues her; the irreconcilability of the calendar's steady forward march with the extempore jumble of shards and fragments that we carry around in our memories, encapsulated in the heroine of her 1987 novel Moon Tiger, who declares from her deathbed: "There is no chronology inside my head." Now 76, Lively finds that her own experience of ageing has deepened rather than resolved the paradox. "In old age, you realise that while you're divided from your youth by decades, you can close your eyes and summon it at will," she says. "As a writer it puts one at a distinct advantage. When writing Moon Tiger from the point of view of an old woman, I kept worrying: would she really think like this? Now I've experienced every age, and can fish back."
Sunday, July 26, 2009
In The Guardian, Sarah Crown talks to novelist Penelope Lively.