It seems like mutual good luck for Abigail Taylor and Dara MacLeod when they meet at St. Andrews University and, despite their differences, become fast friends. Years later they remain an unlikely pair. Abigail, an actress who confidently uses her charms both on- and offstage, believes herself immune to love. Dara, a counselor, is convinced that everyone is inescapably marked by childhood; she throws herself into romantic relationships with frightening intensity. Yet now each seems to have found "true love"another stroke of luck?Abigail with her academic boyfriend, Sean, and Dara with a tall, dark violinist named Edward, who literally falls at her feet. But soon after Dara moves into Abigail's downstairs apartment, trouble threatens both relationships, and their friendship.
For Abigail it comes in the form of an anonymous letter to Sean claiming that she's been unfaithful; for Dara, a reconciliation with her distant father, Cameron, who left the family when Dara was ten, reawakens complicated feelings. Through four ingeniously interlocking narrativesSean's, Cameron's, Dara's, and Abigail'swe gradually understand how these characters' lives are shaped by both chance and determination. Whatever the source, there is no mistaking the tragedy that strikes the house on Fortune Street.
"Everyone," claims Abigail, "has a book or a writer who's the key to their life." As this statement reverberates through each of the narratives, Margot Livesey skillfully reveals how luckgood and badplays a vital role in our lives, and how the search for truth can prove a dangerous undertaking. Written with her characteristic elegance and wit, The House on Fortune Street offers a surprisingly provocative detective story of the heart.
Livesey devotes one section to each character, and each section pays homage to a different classic English novel. One by one, her characters reveal their lives, and the reader's view changes as the author peels back the story. Livesey's novel is an absorbing study of people who, by luck, choice, or fate, change their destiny. (Reviewed by Lesa Holstine).
Los Angeles Times - Martin Rubin
Pretty ordinary stuff, you might think -- not exactly unexplored territory. Yet in the hands of Scots-born novelist Margot Livesey, this seemingly mundane story has such substance and freshness that it draws the reader right in. Her style -- vibrant, evocative, irresistible -- has a lot to do with it: "In the silent aftermath Sean couldn't help noticing that his familiar surroundings had taken on a new intensity; the sage-colored walls were more vivid, the stove shone more brightly, the refrigerator purred more insistently, the glasses gleamed. His home here was in danger."
Moving, gruffly tender and piercingly truthful. Livesey has plenty of critical respect already, but her talents merit a broad popular audience as well.
Written with her characteristic elegance and wit...a surprisingly provocative detective story of the heart.
Livesey's latest novel ...keeps readers brooding over the power of secrets in this dark and disturbing psychological tale.
With empathy and deftness, Margot Livesey brings to life a vivid circle of characters whose lives twist and turn upon each other in a Möbius strip of emotional entanglements. Structurally daring and compulsively readable, The House on Fortune Street illuminates the complexities of love in some of its most difficult guises, and of loss in all of its immensity.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by barbara adair The House on Fortune Street I enjoyed this book so much. There was a lot about it I liked. I had no idea how the story line was going to go. There were intricate plots within plots. I thought Margot Livesey did a great job on this book and I would like to read more of... Read More
The Victorian Era
Each of Margot Livesey's four key characters relates to a
specific author: John Keats, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens
and Virginia Woolf.
Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) and Charles Dickens were
both prominent Victorians, the term used to describe people,
things and events during the reign of Queen Victoria
(1837-1901). A great source of information on the Victorian
period can be found at
victorianweb.org. Created and managed by George Landow,
Professor of English and Art History at Brown University,
the website has more than 60,000 documents covering the
literature, history and culture of the age of Victoria. It
describes the social aspects of the period, the people,
science and technology, and religion. It was a period of
great change with the beginnings of modern movements such as
feminism and the rise of unions. The Victorian era was also
the age of Darwin, Marx and Freud.
Set over a period of twenty-four hours, Run shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from each other, and how family can include people you've never even met.
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