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Moon Tiger Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 64 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Moon Tiger.
This section contains 486 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Moon Tiger Study Guide

Moon Tiger Summary & Study Guide Description

Moon Tiger Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles and a Free Quiz on Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively.

Plot Summary

Moon Tiger is the kaleidoscopic, award-winning story of the life of Claudia Hampton, an intelligent, disagreeable and cantankerous woman. As she lies dying in a hospital bed, Claudia reviews the essential events and people of her adventurous and remarkable life. Claudia is visited by her illegitimate daughter Lisa, a young Hungarian friend and protygy named Laszlo and her sister-in-law Silvia. Her long-term lover, Jasper, Lisa's father, brings roses. She has vivid memories of her darling brother Gordon, who is now dead. A controversial historian, Claudia's popular works on Tito, Cortez and Napoleon have shocked and thrilled millions. Historical events are interwoven with the saga of an unconventional life. Many of Claudia's memories focus on her exploits as a newspaper correspondent based in Cairo during World War II and the death of Tom Southern, a young tank commander. In keeping with Claudia's theory that all historical events occur simultaneously and that chronology is a human conceit, the novel interweaves decades and point of view to produce a rich tapestry of experience, celebrating the life of one acidic, opinionated and impossible woman.

As a rambunctious ten-year-old, Claudia climbs the beach cliffs with her older brother Gordon, searching for fossils. She is brash, red-haired, loud and energetic - everything that her mother is not. Claudia sees Gordon as herself, in a male body. In her late teens, the two develop an intense sexual affair, which lasts fifteen months. Throughout their lives, Gordon and Claudia remain alter egos. Neither their mother nor Gordon's silly wife Sylvia ever suspects the affair.

Working as a war correspondent in Cairo during World War II, Claudia meets a dashing young tank commander named Tom Southern. They have a brief, intense affair before Tom is killed. Claudia discovers she is pregnant with Tom's child. She has a disastrous miscarriage that leaves her emotionally broken, unable to ever nurture any child. Claudia never tells anyone of her affair with Tom or their lost child.

Returning to London, Claudia has an intermittent relationship with Jasper, a half-Russian television producer. Although the two never marry, they have a daughter. Lisa is raised by her to conservative, staid grandmothers. She grows up to be very much like them, and like Gordon's wife Sylvia. In her 40s, Claudia unofficially adopts Laszlo, a Hungarian adolescent. Just before her 70th birthday, Claudia receives a precious gift. It is Tom Southern's diary from his war days, declaring his everlasting love.

Claudia endeavors to produce a history of the world. Instead, she creates a dynamic portrait of herself. Author Penelope Lively won the coveted Booker Award for Moon Tiger, which deftly mixes chronologies and points of view in postmodern fashion to produce a gripping portrait of one irascible, defiant woman. The narrative shows the author's gift for metaphor and scene. Lively was born in Cairo, the site of Claudia's daring World War II exploits, and has used her intimate knowledge of the city to produce a memorable work.

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This section contains 486 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Moon Tiger Study Guide
Moon Tiger from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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