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
    Sep 2005, 384 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

She led him up the stairs. "Help me," she said, presenting the coveralls. Soon she was naked, ample and unabashed. Can this be happening, Zeke thought. Then she was pulling back the covers and he was lost.


When he found himself again, minutes or hours later, basking in the warmth of her proximity, he began to talk about his clocks. "I buy them from jumble sales and junk shops and repair them. I have nine up and ticking, though two are still erratic."

"Do you know about the clock in Prague, in the Old Town Square?"

"Tell me."

A famous clockmaker had made it for the king. When it was finished and everyone had agreed it was a masterpiece, the king ordered his soldiers to blind the clockmaker so that his clock could never be surpassed. For years the blind man lived on the king's charity in a cottage below the castle. At last, on his deathbed, he asked to be carried into the presence of his masterpiece. He passed his hands over the mechanism, and the clock was silent for two hundred years.

"You mean"—Zeke stared up into the darkness—"he did something to the springs?"

"I suppose."

"But how could he bear to?"

She kissed his shoulder. "Revenge," she said. "How else can we rewrite the past?"

He kissed her back. "I can't answer that right now, but I will eventually."

As her breathing grew louder and slower, he felt his anxieties gathering. He tried to calm himself by counting the parts of their bodies that were touching, the parts he still had to touch. He counted her breaths, his own, the cars passing in the street outside until at last he realized the situation was hopeless. "I have to go home," he said.

"Must you?"

No, he thought, not if you'll talk to me all night long in that drowsy voice. "I'm sorry. It's not you. I just can't handle strange houses, strange beds." He touched her cheek. "But I can learn."

The next morning Zeke knocked only once before setting aside the fried-egg sandwiches—he'd chosen brown bread in an effort to offset last night's beer—and sliding the blade of his penknife under the catch of the side window. He left the bag of sandwiches on the kitchen table and climbed the stairs, hoping to find her still in bed, warm and sleepy, hoping to slip in beside her. And this time, he thought, however stupid, however embarrassing, he would ask her name.

The bed was unmade, empty and cold to the touch, the suitcases gone. At the foot of the bed the rug was rolled up, and spread-eagled on the bare wooden boards lay the coveralls, neatly buttoned, arms and legs stretched wide, like an empty person. Only when he knelt to pick them up did Zeke discover the three-inch nails that skewered the collar, pinned the cuffs and ankles to the floor.

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 your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.