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The Boy in the Field: Book summary and reviews of The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey

The Boy in the Field

by Margot Livesey

The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey X
The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2020
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

The New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy delivers another "luminous, unforgettable, and perfectly rendered" (Dennis Lehane) novel - a poignant and probing psychological drama that follows the lives of three siblings in the wake of a violent crime.

One September afternoon in 1999, teenagers Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan Lang are walking home from school when they discover a boy lying in a field, bloody and unconscious. Thanks to their intervention, the boy's life is saved. In the aftermath, all three siblings are irrevocably changed.

Matthew, the oldest, becomes obsessed with tracking down the assailant, secretly searching the local town with the victim's brother. Zoe wanders the streets of Oxford, looking at men, and one of them, a visiting American graduate student, looks back. Duncan, the youngest, who has seldom thought about being adopted, suddenly decides he wants to find his birth mother. Overshadowing all three is the awareness that something is amiss in their parents' marriage. Over the course of the autumn, as each of the siblings confronts the complications and contradictions of their approaching adulthood, they find themselves at once drawn together and driven apart.

Written with the deceptive simplicity and power of a fable, The Boy in the Field showcases Margot Livesey's unmatched ability to "tell her tale masterfully, with intelligence, tenderness, and a shrewd understanding of all our mercurial human impulses" (Lily King, author of Euphoria).

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Livesey demonstrates the same respect for the mysteries of the human heart that enriched such previous novels as Eva Moves the Furniture (2001) and Banishing Verona (2004)...Quietly yet powerfully affecting." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Every character rings true; every observation and reaction feels real. Braiding three separate views of the same incident, Livesey weaves a masterful tapestry of emotion and action focused on the indelible impact of random events." - Booklist (starred review)

"Precise prose, cool observation, and tight pacing will keep readers turning the pages. This is a memorable twist on the coming-of-age tale." - Publishers Weekly

"There are perhaps a few too many coincidences in an attempt to tie up loose ends, but Livesey does well by her teenage protagonists while offering a vivid portrait of life among intellectuals in an Oxford-vicinity village." - Library Journal

"How lucky the world is that Margot Livesey has turned her usual keen and sympathetic writer's eye to the Lang children as they struggle to make sense of a terrible crime and the sensitive, mysterious young victim who suffers in the aftermath. From its taut and frightening opening chapter to its final, mournful pages, The Boy in the Field is a tender, deeply humane exploration of family, philosophy, and what it means to grow up, to keep secrets, to care for one another, and most importantly, what it means to hold another's heart in yours, always, with tenderness and mercy." - Elizabeth Wetmore, author of Valentine

"I loved every single sentence of The Boy in the Field. This novel is so intricately woven, its world so vibrantly built, its characters so beautifully and empathically wrought. To experience the world as rendered by Margot Livesey is a singular, extraordinary delight." - Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

"Margot Livesey has the unique ability to find the hidden darkness beneath the surface of our lives, no matter how deeply buried. A deceptively simple story that explores the aftermath of a moment of violence, The Boy in the Field amazed me with its insight, and the subtlety of Livesey's beautiful, almost dreamlike prose. She speaks of a sensation -- 'quick as a mousetrap, sharp as a thorn' -- and I can't think of a better description of her work. Quick and sharp." - Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here

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Author Information

Margot Livesey Author Biography

Photo: Marion Ettlinger

Margot Livesey grew up in a boys' private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Penguin Canada in 1986. Since then Margot has published eight novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona, The House on Fortune Street, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and Mercury. Her ninth novel, The Boy in the Field, will be published in August 2020 by HarperCollins in the US and by Hoddard & Stoughton in the UK. The Hidden Machinery, a collection of essays ...

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  • Mercury jacket

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