Treasures of Time
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Treasures of Time is the twelfth novel by Booker Prize winning author Penelope Lively, a spellbinding story of the dangers of digging up the dark secrets of the past. This edition features an introduction by Selina Hastings.
Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain. When they were published, some were bestsellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood. All represent their time and helped define their generation, while today each is considered a landmark work of storytelling.
Penelope Lively's Treasures of Time was published in 1979, and is an acutely observed study of marriage and manipulation. When the BBC want to make a documentary about acclaimed archaeologist Hugh Paxton, his widow Laura, daughter Kate and her fiancé Tom are a little nervous: digging up the past can also disturb the present . . .
around at the time. But given all that, let’s face it, the end product is extremely pleasing.’ ‘Mmn. Yes.’ ‘And I can appreciate Palladian architecture as well as the next man – ironically, given what I’ve just said about where I’d have been in seventeen whatever. But then, I’m a product of the historical process too, just as much as the house.’ ‘My…’ said Kate. ‘You never get tired of picking a subject over, do you? Some people would just have a look, and leave it at that.’ ‘I’m a case of
Short and Ken Russell and the Institute of Contemporary Arts and practically the whole of the Midlands and The Guardian women’s page and a good deal else. But being…’ ‘Is the Institute of Contemporary Arts that place in Piccadilly?’ said Laura. He looked at her with admiration. Nice one. ‘But – as I was about to say – being a bloke of low political drive I’m unlikely to do a lot of trying to do anything very active about any of those or anything else, which is in itself I concede a count
you don’t mind? Just give me a knock if there’s anything you want, won’t you?’ There was a fair bit of whisky left. Enough to put paid to the next hour or two, anyway. He woke to the most fearful cacophony of birds outside the window. And blinding light. And a headache to beat all headaches. And along with the headache accompanying miseries like nausea and cramp in the legs and a general feeling of being only tenuously connected with the universe. And as he lay pole-axed in this dark night of
particular form. And now we jump back to Hugh Paxton’s study at Danehurst, with Paul Summers discussing, in pleasant, measured tones the man’s contribution to a discipline. ‘Of course,’ he says, ‘radio-carbon dating is the great watershed in twentieth century archaeology. It came at the right moment for Hugh Paxton. He…’ He holds a little bronze pin or something, taps it absent-mindedly on the desk once or twice as he talks: behind his head the glass of the book-case reflects the garden. What you
not clear. Notwithstanding which – and the atrocity of the coffee, the torment induced by a heating system apparently designed to roast the thighs of passengers, the ghoulish satisfaction of the station announcement that the train was running approximately twenty-one minutes late – notwithstanding all this, it was possible to look out of the window with pleasure, and to feel a distinct twinge of well-being. I’m not altogether without resources, he thought: we shall get by. We might even enjoy