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The Boy in the Field

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529339147

Price: £8.99

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New York Times

‘A superb family drama’
Daily Mail

‘A searingly intelligent writer’
Jennifer Egan

‘A twist of eerie magic’
Tessa Hadley

‘A singular, extraordinary delight’
Claire Lombardo

‘Every novel of Margot Livesey’s is a joyous discovery’
Alice Sebold

‘A tender, deeply humane exploration of what it means to hold another’s heart in yours with tenderness and mercy’
Elizabeth Wetmore

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.

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Daily Mail and O Magazine Book of the year.

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Consuming . . . Explores themes of honesty and understanding by showing the impact that obsessions - grief, rapacity - can have on a marriage
New Yorker on MERCURY
Livesey knows her way around human desire and disappointment.
New York Times
Margot Livesey should be better known . . . [She] writes as well as anyone and is clearly steeped in the literary canon . . . She's a patient builder of complex characters who are often brought face to face with uncomfortable truths about themselves.
Mark Kamine, Wall Street Journal
MERCURY explores that thrilling, terrifying moment when grief turns blind, when passion becomes obsession. As always, Livesey tells her tale masterfully, with intelligence, tenderness and a shrewd understanding of all our mercurial human impulses.
Lily King on MERCURY
Margot Livesey is a searingly intelligent writer at the height of her powers.
Jennifer Egan
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.
Kevin Wilson, author of NOTHING TO SEE HERE
Every novel of Margot Livesey's is, for her readers, a joyous discovery. Her work radiates with compassion and intelligence and always, deliciously, mystery
Alice Sebold, author of THE LOVELY BONES
Family bonds are fraught, fragile, yet ultimately enduring in Livesey's nuanced account of the siblings' separate but conjoined odysseys . . . Livesey demonstrates . . . respect for the mysteries of the human heart . . . Quietly yet powerfully affecting.
Kirkus (starred)
How lucky the world is that Margot Livesey has turned her usual keen and sympathetic writer's eye to the Lang children - Duncan, Zoe, and Matthew- 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
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)
Livesey deftly portrays the rich inner lives of adolescents . . . [she] does well by her teenage protagonists while offering a vivid portrait of life among intellectuals in an Oxford-vicinity village.
Library Journal
Written in elegant, spare prose, this story flies swiftly forward from the transfixing opening pages. A charming, complicated family dynamic, a twist of eerie magic
Tessa Hadley
Filled with detailed observation and a precisely delineated plot, The Boy in the Field will please readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories written with psychological precision and empathy.
A stunning novel of tenderness, interconnectedness, cause and effect . . . this brilliant novel offers a sense of beauty and safety in its quiet ruminations
Shelf Awareness
Luminous... Livesey's language is crystalline-clear and immersive, replete with vibrant imagery... Full of kindness
Boston Globe
Exquisite . . . Livesey's writing is quiet, observant and beautifully efficient
New York Times
This is the kind of book you ration yourself reading because you don't want to get to the end. A gripping, beautifully written novel showing the light and shade of modern family life
Daily Mail
A superb family drama
Wendy Holden, Daily Mail, Best Books of 2020
Elegant writing, intriguing and subtle
Lucy Atkins