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Lillian on Life by Alison Jean Lester
  

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Life and love lessons as told by sassy narrator Lillian as she looks back in this brilliantly written, bold debut.

Synopsis

Lillian on Life by Alison Jean Lester

'I absolutely loved it. A delight ...so fresh and clever and subversive' Kate Atkinson 'I completely loved Lillian on Life. What a great voice, what energy and wit ...very original and often extremely funny' Karen Joy Fowler Lillian, a single, well-travelled woman of a certain age, wakes up next to her married lover and looks back at her life. It's not at all the life she expected. Walking the unpaved road between traditional and modern options for women, Lillian has grappled with parental disappointment, society's expectations and the vagaries of love and sex. As a narrator she's bold and witty, and her reflections - from 'On Getting to Sex' to 'On the Importance of Big Pockets' or 'On Leaving in Order to Stay' - reverberate originally and unpredictably. In Lillian on Life, Alison Jean Lester has created a brutally honest portrait of a woman living through the post-war decades of change in Munich, Paris, London and New York. Her story resonates with the glamour and energy of those cities. Charming, sometimes heartbreaking, never a stereotype, Lillian is completely herself; her view of the world is unique. You won't soon forget her.

Reviews

What a splendid book! By turns acerbic and warm, urbane and homespun, Lillian on Life is - like its protagonist - charming, funny, and unabashedly smart. But as slender and enjoyable as this book is, it's much more than simply a lark. Each elegantly compressed chapter leaves us luxuriating in thought: about the snippets of experience so vividly depicted, and about those that have been, with perfect art, left out' * Leah Hager Cohen * In this remarkably mature first novel, Alison Jean Lester has channeled the worldly yet wistful elegance of Colette to portray an unforgettable heroine. Lillian's provocative reflections on love, vanity, sexual intimacy, and surviving as an independent woman over half a century are deeply moving * Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Widower's Tale * Lillian on Life is a quirky book with a very deep heart and soul. I found it full of life and full of wisdom * Erica Jong * What emerges is a voice so quirky and candid, a story so rich in telling detail, that it is easy to forget this is a novel, not a memoir. I wish Lillian were real and could do lunch - she'd be a hoot * Lady * I'll never forget Lillian on Life. Looking backward, she's brutally honest about her needs, her lovers, her parents. Salinger could have invented her . . . Roth would have loved her . . . and so will you. A rare book, a little raunchy, but very rich and very real * Ilene Beckerman, author of Love, Loss and What I Wore * Try not to fall in love with Lillian, Alison Jean Lester's vivacious, funny and charming heroine in this excellent debut novel . . . A gorgeous read, at moments heartbreaking, often joyful and mostly unforgettable * Red * The snapshots build into a witty, candid account of those little dilemmas that the average woman meets every day - except that Lillian is far from average. In fact, I wish we could have lunch * Saga * I will be recommending Lillian to many other women of my acquaintance. Her passion, achievements and self-effacing observations have the potential to entertain and inspire us all * Never Imitate * [Lillian on Life is] written in a strangely companionable style, like you were sharing a night of secrets and girl chat with an old friend. It felt at once both familiar and surprising and kept me reading on to find out all the fascinating things that Lillian had done in her life. Lester has created a likeable heroine and an enjoyable story * lisatalksabout.com * It's rare that you find a book that's so easy to read yet so difficult to forget, but this debut novel will stay with you and have you questioning your own love life for weeks after finishing it . . . Think Sex and the City meets Rona Jaffe's 1958 novel The Best of Everything * Stylist * A bold and witty narrator . . . impossible to put down * Image * From the moment I caught sight of the book cover I was hooked . . . I read Lillian on Life in one sitting, very swiftly as though she were telling me her stories and giving me advice. I might have raced through it, but I know I'll read it again * The Mitford Society * A dazzling first novel . . . In short vignettes, Lillian looks back, drawing an impressionistic portrait of a bold life full of ad-ven-ture - erotic and otherwise - in prose spiked with unflinching observations, riotous riffs and poignant reflections * Washington Post * A delicious, sweet-sad debut novel * Sainsbury's Magazine * I completely loved Lillian on Life. What a great voice, what energy and wit . . . very original and often extremely funny * Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves * A beautifully written, deft debut; edgy, elegant Lillian will stay with you * Adele Parks * I absolutely loved it. A delight . . . so fresh and clever and subversive * Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life *


About the Author

Alison Jean Lester was born in the United States and has variously grown up, studied, worked, written and raised her two children in the US, the UK, China, Italy, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. She currently lives with her family in Singapore. Lillian on Life is her first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd July 2015

Author

Alison Jean Lester

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Publisher

John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division

Format

Paperback
256 pages

Categories

Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781848549524

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