City of the Mind
Matthew Halland is an architect, intimately involved with the new face of the city, while haunted by earlier times of destruction and loss in its history. Although he is divorced and lonely, Matthew has a rich and moving relationship with his daughter Jane. She offers a fresh perspective on love, loss, and even the city of London.

Matthew becomes entangled with an array of fascinating characters, from Rutter, a corrupt real estate developer whose mafia-like ways disgust him, to Sarah Bridges, a romantic ray of hope who enters his life. Mathew’s relationships with Jane, Sarah, and Rutter allow his mind to rove freely as the past, present, and future interweave and he strives to look ahead and forge new beginnings of his own..

In Lively’s most ambitious novel, she has created a wonderfully rich and audacious confrontation with the mystery of London.

City of the Mind Details

Book TitleCity of the Mind
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City of the Mind Reviews

  • Andrew Cox
    Jul 23, 2017

    Andrew Cox

    Excellent. A very thoughtful book with London at its centre. Lively is an excellent writer. ...

  • Nerak
    Jul 5, 2017


    An early Lively, very heavy on the descriptions and light on the character development. Wonderful use of imagery of how events imprint on a landscape as time passes. ...

  • Peter Aronson
    Nov 19, 2016

    Peter Aronson

    A very pleasing read that benefits from some care in reading, as it jumps from prosaic descriptions of mundane life to poetic descriptions of deep time and back again with little warning. And even the prosaic sections will often have a very nice turn of phrase or three. And then there'...

  • Kevin Darbyshire
    Oct 8, 2016

    Kevin Darbyshire

    Loved the characters and especially the way the story focused on London and areas that I know well. I am never disappointed with this author. I am re-reading her books and enjoying them as much as the first time around. ...

  • Priscilla
    Jul 24, 2016


    I liked it but it was a little too dreamy for my personal taste. It felt murky rather than poetic while I was reading it. Inevitable happy ending with the love interest disappointed me a bit. But a good read, nevertheless. ...

  • Janey
    Mar 28, 2016


    Personally I am not a fan of "stream of consciousness" writing so I found the first few chapters a bit tedious, but it improved a lot after that. We were still inside the main character's head a lot but with much more going on with the plot as well. I will definitely try some other Pen...

  • Judy
    Nov 10, 2015


    Spiderweb was so enjoyable, that I expected to like this one. Hmm. To me, it was convoluted, and the characters were flat. I liked the idea of the story, but it just didn't catch me. I gave up after 32 pages (I usually give a book at least 50 pages), so I'm not going to rate it. Maybe ...

  • Liz
    Aug 31, 2015


    This isn't the best of Lively's novels, but that still means it's far better than most contemporary authors' works. A compelling picture of a London in transition as the old East end gives way to the building sites out of which rise the gleaming skyscrapers will become Canary Wharf, a ...

  • Reader
    Jun 2, 2015


    I did enjoy this book although it didn't blow me away. I found the use of history and images really interesting and how the main story of Matthew was entwined with the more minor stories of other characters in London, giving the novel a more historical and deeper edge that went beyond ...

  • Bianca
    Nov 26, 2014


    Alfa and Omega: the starting point and the finish line, the original and what it has come to; between these two extreme points in time, humanly established and thus tremulous, uncertain, there can be everything. And everything in the middle is doubly indefinite. Yet delimitations help ...