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
  • 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


Inside he began to tiptoe toward the hall; then, reconsidering, attempted his normal stride. "Hello. Anyone home?"

He switched things on: kettle, radio, lights. Even the man at London Electricity had forgotten him. Everything worked perfectly. He made the obligatory cup of tea and set to work, but after ten minutes of sanding he couldn't stand it. The awful possibility—she was gone—leaped into his head and ricocheted around. He laid the sandpaper aside and, wiping his powdery hands on his jeans, climbed the stairs.

He had reconnoitered the first day he had the house to himself, as he always did, flitting through bedrooms, checking wardrobes and cupboards and the dark spaces beneath desks and tables. He wasn't snooping for kinky underwear or exotic substances but rather—it was the way he coped with strange houses—looking for a hiding place. Sometimes, when he felt particularly shaky, he even stored provisions there: a bottle of water, a packet of biscuits. Here at the Barrows', he'd chosen the pedestal desk in the study. With his knees drawn up, the wooden U was an almost perfect fit. Now he moved from one lightbulbless room to another. In the master bedroom the tattered floral wallpaper made his teeth ache. Then the study, his hiding place, surrounded by machines: computer, printer, fax, even a photocopier. Last, the spare room, distinguished by the boxes stacked along the wall and the miscellaneous furniture.

Had he ever been so glad to see a suitcase? The larger of the two lay open at the foot of the bed, revealing a tumble of garments, red, purple, white, blue; the smaller, still closed, stood by the window with a red sticker proclaiming fragile. Neither, unfortunately, had a label with her name. He stepped over to the bed and knelt to bury his face in the pillow. Here she was, and here.

The scrape of a door hurled him to his feet. The last thing he wanted was to be caught mooning over a pillow. "Hello," he called, starting down the stairs.

She was in the hall, her cheeks glowing, her hair darker than the day before, bearing the marks of a comb. "I went to get us fried-egg sandwiches." She flourished a paper bag.

Us, he thought. "Thank you," he said, and explained, though she didn't seem concerned, that he had broken in. In the kitchen he set out plates, salt and pepper, sheets of paper towel. He had had his usual bowl of cereal only an hour ago; now, following her example, he ate ravenously. She was wearing a faded blue sweatshirt, the sleeves rolled up as if it had once belonged to someone else, the hem stretched tight over her belly. How far along was she, he wondered, trying to recall various friends. Six months, maybe seven. Watching her raise the bread to pepper the egg, he realized he had dreamed about her the night before.

Only a fragment remained, her winching a metal bucket, brimming with water, out of a well. But before he could tell her, she was talking again. One spring, apparently, she had worked as a cleaner in an office building and had eaten a fried-egg sandwich every day. From the way she spoke, he understood that this was not her present occupation.

"So what are we doing today?" she said, wiping her hands on the paper towel. "Putting up lining paper?"

He began to stammer. He was making good progress. Besides, her aunt and uncle were paying him a fair wage.

"But you must need help," she said, "and I need something to take my mind off things."

At the time he assumed a covert reference to her pregnancy. Later, when he scrutinized her every utterance, it became one of those mysterious manhole covers, briefly raised over the dark river of secrecy. Meanwhile, before he could urge further objections—the dust, the fumes—she had spotted a pair of coveralls hanging on the back door, and the next thing he knew she had scrambled into them and was demonstrating how well they fit; her belly split the front like a chestnut its shell. "Come on," she said. "I bet you're paid by the job, not the hour."

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!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

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.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!