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Very enjoyable stories, most of them amusing, some hilarious and some rather moving Very English as well I just love the use of understatement Lively also likes to introduce some absurdity now and then The first story is moving and the picture that she sketches of the impoverished upper class is shocking In the Voice of God story I like the way the author sketches the renters and how they interact Lively has a keen and mostly forgiving and ironic eye for human weakness Interpreting the pa Very enjoyable stories, most of them amusing, some hilarious and some rather moving Very English as well I just love the use of understatement Lively also likes to introduce some absurdity now and then The first story is moving and the picture that she sketches of the impoverished upper class is shocking In the Voice of God story I like the way the author sketches the renters and how they interact Lively has a keen and mostly forgiving and ironic eye for human weakness Interpreting the past is a good story as well, profound Servants talk about people is hilarious Help is painful, a bit nasty and reminds one of Roald Dahl Miss Carlton is a sweet and entertaining story that I liked very much Revenant seemed a bit old fashioned too me At the Pitt Rivers was one of the stories I liked less A world of her own is a devastating portrait of an egotistic personality who thinks she is an artist Presents of Fish and Game is another one that has not withstood time very well, I think A clean death, on the contrary, is aprofound story that remains with you after finishing it Corruption is hilarious again Halfway the collection there are a few stories that I find less interesting Th Art of Biography is entertaining a again with a touch of Dahl A long night at Abu Simbel is another portrait of the less likeable part of human character The French Exchange as well, with the added brilliance of the portrait of French student Pack of Cards is another very good one in the same sphere The Crimean Hotel has a touch of melancholy that is another trait that characterizes some stories The last two stories have a touch of the absurd that is very enjoyable as well An excellent collection of a writer that is not very well known outside the UK, but very much worth the discovery Nothing Missing but the Samovar A beautifully rendered story told from the perspective of a German student visiting the estate of an arisrocratic English family who have fallen on hard times yet maintain a wonderfully staid optimism and love of their farm and way of life Very English Servants Talk about People Gentlefolk discuss things I ll remember this every time I dine in a restaurant funniest story I ve read in years Long Night at Abu Simbel Very funny tale of how rapidly our venee Nothing Missing but the Samovar A beautifully rendered story told from the perspective of a German student visiting the estate of an arisrocratic English family who have fallen on hard times yet maintain a wonderfully staid optimism and love of their farm and way of life Very English Servants Talk about People Gentlefolk discuss things I ll remember this every time I dine in a restaurant funniest story I ve read in years Long Night at Abu Simbel Very funny tale of how rapidly our veneer of civility wears away in the face of a bit of difficulty far from home.The Art of Biography Loved the juxtaposition of a great historical love affair and the narrator s rather pedestrian one I found this book of short stories in a lovely little shop in Bozeman, Montana I started them immediately in our snowy Victorian lodging Four read thus far, and they are excellent I m in no rush to finish them and am actually happy that it s teeny tiny print in my used copy. Having found this among my mother s books after she died, I thought I would give it a try I am glad I did The stories are very enjoyable, might be described as a clich of what is thought to be an English sensibility subdued tones, understatement, hint rather than statement, implication rather than dogma, sentiment rather than emotion with the English literary tendency nevertheless or so it seems to me to create subdued caricatures in the guise of authentic characters, so I hesitated betwe Having found this among my mother s books after she died, I thought I would give it a try I am glad I did The stories are very enjoyable, might be described as a clich of what is thought to be an English sensibility subdued tones, understatement, hint rather than statement, implication rather than dogma, sentiment rather than emotion with the English literary tendency nevertheless or so it seems to me to create subdued caricatures in the guise of authentic characters, so I hesitated between four and three stars Some of the themes are pretty unoriginal and some rather forced but most people awarding stars in Good Reads on the basis of the amount of pleasure they gave, not on the basis of an objectively assessed literary accomplishment on that basis, I decided to award four stars, although definitely a low four but a four all the same the stories are both easy to read and intelligent, a welcome combination in fiction in our hectic times, where there is so little time to enjoy and digest the hard to access literary work I can recommend these stories to anybody on the move who occasionally has a little time in a train or parked car and wants a change from the daily news with its predictable platitudes, horrors and crises ( Download Pdf ) ♐ Pack of Cards and Other Stories ♬ In Pack of Cards, Penelope Lively introduces the reader to slivers of the everyday world that are not always open to observation, as she delves into the minutiae of her characters lives Whether she writes about a widow on a visit to Russia, a small boy s consignment to boarding school, or an agoraphobic housewife, Penelope Lively takes the reader past the closed curtains, through the locked door, into a world that seems at first mundane and then at second glance, proves to be uniquely memorable Inspiredentertaining abundantly rich collectionPenelope Lively writes beautifully with meticulous detachment The New York Times Book Review Although some pieces in this collection possess brilliant moments they overly dull It seems, when we begin each short story, that their is much to be told and potential oozes from opening paragraphs But by the end of the vignette nothing has happened except an unfinished description of mundane existence Each story offers something, a possibility of adventure, of catharsis, of didactic ending, but seldom forms anything except a harsh unfinished finish. Lively writes with keen understanding of lesser discussed human feelings and subterranean thoughts Most of the stories have a moral stance but not in a preachy wayin the sense of what is moral is what makes the actor happy, and truth and morality are inextricably intertwined The Darkness Out There captures that moment when we realize that much evil is wrapped in goodness. Charming stories My favorite was a long night in Abu Simbel Sometimes travelers get what they deserve. An especially good selection of Lively s short stories They are all 30 years old, so some cultural things are dated now, but in some instances this adds to their charm. in this collection there were one or two I didn t care for, many that I liked, and several especially The French Exchange that I loved But all were beautifully written.