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  • John Murray
  • John Murray

Lillian on Life

Alison Jean Lester

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

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

'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.

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Praise for Lillian on Life

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • I absolutely loved it. A delight . . . so fresh and clever and subversive - Kate Atkinson, author of Life After Life

  • A beautifully

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Alison Jean Lester

Alison Jean Lester was born to an American father and a British mother, and educated in the US, the UK, China and Italy. She spent twenty-five years working, writing and raising her children in Japan and Singapore before relocating to the UK in 2016. She is the author of the novel Lillian on Life and has had short stories published in Ecotone, Good Housekeeping, Synaesthesia and Barrelhouse.

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