From the Booker Prize winner and national bestselling author, reflections on gardening, art, literature, and life

Penelope Lively takes up her key themes of time and memory, and her lifelong passions for art, literature, and gardening in this philosophical and poetic memoir. From the courtyards of her childhood home in Cairo to a family cottage in Somerset, to her own gardens in Oxford and London, Lively conducts an expert tour, taking us from Eden to Sissinghurst and into her own backyard, traversing the lives of writers like Virginia Woolf and Philip Larkin while imparting her own sly and spare wisdom. "Her body of work proves that certain themes never go out of fashion," writes the New York Times Book Review, as true of this beautiful volume as of the rest of the Lively canon.

Now in her eighty-fourth year, Lively muses, "To garden is to elide past, present, and future; it is a defiance of time."
Praise for Penelope Lively

“Lively writes with an astringent blend of sympathy and detachment, emotional wisdom and satiric wit.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


“One of our most talented writers.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A consummate storyteller.”
—The Seattle Times

“In her own late seventies now, with a legion of regular readers and newcomers with every book, Lively continues to surprise and illuminate, writing to ever more dazzling effect.”
The Boston Globe

“Witty, gentle-humored, sharp . . . Lively is a keen observer and an engaging narrator.”
—NPR’s All Things Considered