Using memories of her childhood among the privileged expatriate society of Egypt in the 1930s, Penelope Lively provides a slice of autobiography which is also an exploration of childhood perception. In snapshots of recollection, we build up a ...
picture of her happy, self-absorbed early years in a familiar land of canals and palm-trees, mud-brick villages and water buffalo, under the ever-watchful and loving eye of her nanny, Lucy. Even World War II barely proved a disruption to an idyllic childhood which was shattered by adolescence and her parents' divorce. Penelope Lively's account of the childhood that has remained so vivid in her mind, and of the subsequent trauma when she was sent back to the "homeland" she had never regarded as home, stands as a poignant metaphor for all lost childhoods. She gives a fresh insight into how children perceive, and how we remember.