Excerpt from Banishing Verona by Margot Livesey, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Banishing Verona

by Margot Livesey

Banishing Verona by Margot Livesey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2004, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2005, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Let me make some tea," he concluded, backing out of the room. In the kitchen, he hovered beside the dormant kettle and, to his own stupefaction, imagined telling her the story of his breakdown. Surely she would listen to him like she had the container salesman. Don't, he admonished. You only met her fifteen minutes ago. Even people he had known for years tended to back away when he mentioned his difficulties. As the kettle rumbled to a boil he heard a thud from the hall, followed by another. Her stocking feet appeared in the doorway, and he understood not only the noises he'd just heard but those that came most nights through his bedroom ceiling: one shoe, two shoe.

"Which side are you on?" he said, offering a mug of tea.

"Roundheads or cavaliers? Arsenal or Chelsea? Flat earth or solar system?"

"Mr. or Mrs. Barrow. Whose niece are you?"

"Mister's, can't you tell?" She turned and, heels striking the floor, carried her tea upstairs.

Alone with his own tea, Zeke thought, I am profoundly boring. He searched high and low in the rooms of his brain, checking the long front hall, the living room, the dining room, the narrow stairs, and couldn't find a trace of disagreement.

Normally he quit at five, but today he kept pressing spackle into even the smallest cracks until close to six-thirty. Then, in the face of an unbroken silence from above, he admitted defeat. He tidied his tools, washed his hands, and called the news of his departure, wanly, up the stairs.

"Wait." There she was on the landing. "Are you coming tomorrow? When?"

Her tawny hair was sticking up like a cockatoo's crest. "I aim for eight," he told her. "Not to worry. I can let myself in."

"I need keys." She swam down the stairs into the light, stopping on the last one, hand outstretched. He should have guessed then from the way her hazel eyes fastened on his that something was awry, either she wasn't on good terms with her aunt and uncle or Ms. F—weren't all fetuses female at first?—was a problematic guest, but the warmth of her breath, the lilt of her perfume, expunged rational thought. Helpless, he laid the keys in her palm.

"Will you be up to let me in?" he said. One cheek, her left, bore the crease of a pillow.

"Up with the lark, up with the milkman."

"Are you all right?" he found himself asking.

"Probably," she said. And then—surely all the buses of London rose an inch into the air—she leaned forward and pressed her lips, gently, to his.



The next morning Zeke rang the bell, knocked, tried the knob. The door stayed shut, the windows dark. Feeling like a dolt, he even bent down and called through the letter box. By the end of five minutes, he was holding on to himself, a kite on a gusty day. He fished around in his pockets, his bag, and was rewarded with a vision of his mobile phone in the pocket of his other jacket. As he walked around the corner, he counted the cigarette butts in the gutter—some crushed, some not—to keep himself from floating away. Seven, eight, eleven. Twice he had to stop and retrace his steps to make sure he hadn't missed one. Look down, he thought, not up. In the forecourt of the underground station, he saw a free phone and, trying not to think of all the hands, the mouths, that had passed this way, dialed the Barrows' number. The answering machine clicked on with a brief nasal message. She's stepped out for a paper, he told himself; she's taking a bath. Walking back, he forgot about the cigarettes and placed his feet securely in the middle of each paving stone.

At the house, nothing had changed. He knocked, rang, shouted again, before climbing in through the living room window. He had opened it the day before while using the steamer and, in the excitement of her arrival, neglected his usual security measures. Now the ease with which the sash slid up made him feel stricken. He had left her at the mercy of any passing vandal.

From Banishing Verona by Margot Livesey.  Copyright 2004 Margot Livesey.  All rights reserved.  No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...
  • Book Jacket: Midnight at the Electric
    Midnight at the Electric
    by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    The world changes, but humanity stays the same. Whether a book takes place in the year 1510 or 2010,...
  • Book Jacket
    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles
    Paulette Jiles brings the landscape of late 19th century Texas to life in this novel long-listed for...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Necklace
    by Claire McMillan

    For readers of The Nest, the intelligent, intoxicating story of long-simmering family secrets.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.