Towards old age through memory and narrative in Penelope Lively's 'The photograph' and 'How it all began'
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This article analyses two novels by contemporary British author Penelope Lively by focusing on a recurrent topic in Lively's fiction: the interrelation between memory and narrative in order to make sense of lived time as opposed to chronological time. In Lively's The Photograph (2003) and How It All Began (2011), two apparently insignificant episodes force the two main characters, Glyn and Charlotte respectively, to revise their memories as well as life stories when entering their old age. Revising their life narratives by going back to their memories and making sense of their present situations proves to be a rewarding exercise which helps both protagonists to be ready to step into a new life stage. On the other hand, the narrative of each of the novels is constructed through the voices of those family members and friends who are part of Glyn's and Charlotte's past and present, and who contribute to add information to the respective revision processes of the protagonists, showing that time and memory, as well as narrative, are subjective constructed categories.