Penelope Lively

Oleander, Jacaranda

Life for an English child in Egypt is a hazy world of sights, sounds and smells, the stifling heat, the white and blue scented oleander and jacaranda, the waving sugar-cane, the dusty paths trodden by donkeys and barefoot village children, the snake-charmer in the garden, the broad, brown Nile itself.

This remarkable memoir uses the wisdoms of adult hindsight to recover what it was that this child saw, growing up outside Cairo during the Second World War, as the Libyan campaign raged to and fro in the desert not far away: ‘a headful of brilliant frozen moments’

Back to Non-Fiction Amazon Buy on Amazon


"So vividly evocative that you can smell the dust ... wise, colourful and touching."