Extended Audio Sample

Download Family Album: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Family Album: A Novel Audiobook, by Penelope Lively Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,157 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Penelope Lively Narrator: Josephine Bailey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 ISBN: 9781400183524
Regular Price: $16.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

All Alison ever wanted was a blissful childhood for her six children, with summers at the beach and birthday parties on the lawn at their family home. Together with Ingrid, the family au pair, she has worked hard to create a real "old-fashioned family life." But beneath its postcard sheen, the picture is clouded by a distant father, Alison's inexplicable emotional outbursts, and long-repressed secrets that no one dares mention. For years, Alison's adult children have protected her illusion of domestic perfection-but as each child confronts the effects of past choices on their current adult lives, it becomes evident that each must face the truth. Penelope Lively's novels of history, memory, and character have earned her a loyal legion of fans. Like Ian McEwan's Atonement, this novel is a measured, thoughtful look at how events of the past, both small and large, seen and unseen, deeply inform character and the present. Quietly provocative and disturbing, Family Album is a highly nuanced work that showcases a master of her craft. Download and start listening now!

beay

Quotes & Awards

  • Exquisite.... The writing is slick and deliberate, with a keen observation of middle-class domestic life. Chicago Sun-Times

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 2/17/2014

    " Large family, kids grow up, hate and love each other, and move along in life. Okeedoke - family dynamics are tough and Lively portrays them. Yawn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 2/16/2014

    " This felt a little like reading about my own past in an alternate universe. A large family, a beloved family home, a house in which the kids had secrets from the parents, a nanny (ours was a farm girl), a stay-at home mother, a father who was away at work (mine physically, the fictional family's emotionally). Then the growing up and dispersing. Other than that, I don't have much to say. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wanda | 2/14/2014

    " started out good but sputtered away "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marg | 2/13/2014

    " Allersmead is a preVictorian house set in a large garden. It is the home of author Charles, earth mother Alison, Ingrid the au paire and six children of various ages. Their interaction within the walls of this family home are related in acute detail by an author I enjoy reading. The narration switches from one character to another as does the time frame change regularly to keep us on our toes. A good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 2/3/2014

    " An easy holiday read, but definitely not one of her better books. Rather dull and totally predictable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren Albert | 1/30/2014

    " Another book that wonders what makes a family. A house does not make a family. Biology does not make a family. It is the story of an "accidental" family; a story that makes us realize that all families are accidental. Planned parenthood is a reality in only the most narrow of ways. We don't choose our children or our parents; or rather, we don't choose who they are and who they become try as we might to influence it. I liked Lively's characterization of the distant father and the relentlessly happy mother. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kappy | 1/27/2014

    " I love this author and have read all her books. This may not be her strongest, but my rating covers her body of work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Junaida jacobsen | 1/18/2014

    " slow going, sometimes rambles on - introduced 5 characters in the first few pages, so its difficult to build a connection to the 'players' in the book. Will appeal to those who are familiar with life in England. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna DeBoer | 1/14/2014

    " EH.. it was ok.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elaine | 1/13/2014

    " Well written, but it was diminished for me by the fact that AS Byatt's last book had exactly the same plot twist (and something of the same atmosphere -- 100 years earlier). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo Marengere | 1/13/2014

    " I wavered between three stars and four and rounded up because I loved her depiction of the complexity of family relationships. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Therese Thompson | 1/1/2014

    " thought it would be better than it was. can't relate to the mom who lives her life to project a perfect image, and doesn't have the insight to see the facade is not working. All six kids look back on their childhood with completely different memories...that part was the most interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Marsh | 11/23/2013

    " I'm always drawn to novels about large, rambling families and this one did not disappoint. Six (!) children, their parents complicated relationship and the nanny - it's all there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roberta | 7/27/2013

    " Nice enough, but just too boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donnagallant | 12/28/2012

    " Good book about family dynamics "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cynthia Kane | 12/16/2012

    " Fast read - very readable but will I remember this? Probably not. Yet I will read other Penelope Lively works again. She writes well here about a fairly ordinary and not-ordinary family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 medi | 10/7/2012

    " Hmm, I was loving this until everything sloooowed down and started spiraling around itself in repetitions after the great family secret was revealed. And the ending disappointed: felt like the author took a shortcut. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 9/19/2012

    " Quirky and true to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachael | 9/5/2012

    " Another great read from Penelope Lively...fast becoming one of my favorite modern British writers. Convincingly captures the essence of this family and difficulty maintaining any type of emotional connection . Masterfully written. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marlies | 5/27/2012

    " Didn't like it--didn't finish "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zoe Jussel | 4/16/2012

    " Lively has a way of taking a big chew out of situations so that you become part of the story which engenders a nostalgia for events and happenings that one might have experienced in their own lives. The mundane becomes complicated and the complicated becomes mundane. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary Beth | 2/12/2012

    " It might be that this is a case where the book does not suit the mood, but I never felt all that engaged with this book. Perhaps I will try again later.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 11/4/2011

    " Initially I was conflicted. There are parts that are outstanding but parts that dragged on. However, in sum, anyone that grew up in a large family can appreciate the delicacies of the familial relationships and understand the complicated relationships that form. I thought the ending was spot on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 10/9/2011

    " O ly one in my book group to be so inspired by this book, that I searched out a read others by Ms. Lively. Curious and somehow sad family dynamics. Told by the children looking back on their growing up years. Always a fascinating study as each child has their own view of the same events. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie Williams | 9/14/2011

    " A little disappointing, long arduous narrative re; siblings and parents relationship based in Allersmead the family home. Secret was a big let down, "is that all" I heard myself say!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 5/21/2011

    " Would definitely recommend this book, although the big secret isn't as big as implied. I really liked Lively's writing and am going to look for more by her. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cristianne | 4/28/2011

    " Quick read, but I loved it. About family, place, memory, and perception. highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Junaida | 4/22/2011

    " slow going, sometimes rambles on - introduced 5 characters in the first few pages, so its difficult to build a connection to the 'players' in the book. Will appeal to those who are familiar with life in England. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Therese | 4/17/2011

    " thought it would be better than it was. can't relate to the mom who lives her life to project a perfect image, and doesn't have the insight to see the facade is not working. All six kids look back on their childhood with completely different memories...that part was the most interesting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 NaniM | 4/4/2011

    " i take long time to finish this book. and the ending is dissapointing when the family mystery isnt THAT shocking. it turns out, they just a bunch of selfish kids who fail to appreciate their mother sacrifice. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carey | 3/18/2011

    " A book in the mould of Annie Tyler et al, beautifully and skillfully written but ultimately pretty boring. The continual shifting of the narrative voice got a bit tiresome and the BIG secret was pretty unimpressive. I find these books about boring middle-class life just that - boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gillian | 2/22/2011

    " An almost fractured narrative trying to find the 'truth' about a family by narration from each member. A lovely concept but executed half-heartedly. Could have been brilliant but is mediocre at best. However an easy and unchallenging read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 2/21/2011

    " Not as interesting as some of her previous novels. The family is eccentric, the parents are sort of absorbed in their own way of doing things. There is a strange secret, but it's not that crazy. The children were not that interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 2/17/2011

    " Fascinating portrait of a large family. Good writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patricia | 1/10/2011

    " eh, wasn't all that impressed with the twistedness of her family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roberta | 1/10/2011

    " Nice enough, but just too boring. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Penelope Lively

Penelope Lively was born in 1933 in Cairo and spent her childhood there, going to England in the last year of the Second World War. She holds a degree in modern history from Oxford University and is the author of nine novels, three volumes of short stories, and many books for children. Her novel Moon Tiger won the prestigious Booker Prize in England. She lives in North Oxfordshire and London.

About the Narrator

Josephine Bailey’s impeccable narrations include the British classics Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden. She has also used her subtly nuanced style to enliven historical fiction and light romances. She has won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.