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The Boy in the Field
by Margot Livesey




Overview -

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year An O Magazine Best Book of the Year

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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More About The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey

 
 
 

Overview

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year An O Magazine Best Book of the Year

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).


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062946393
  • ISBN-10: 0062946390
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: August 2020
  • Page Count: 272
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.75 x 0.95 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Boy in the Field

The discovery of a random crime leads to an empathic exploration of family, connection and creativity in Margot Livesey’s ninth novel, The Boy in the Field

Walking home from school outside of Oxford, England, siblings Matthew, Zoe and Duncan Lang find Karel Lustig lying in a field, stabbed and left for dead. Their intervention saves his life, but it also sends each of them on a voyage of self-discovery. The oldest, Matthew, avidly follows the police investigation but also seeks out Karel’s family and is discomfited by their complicated dynamic, especially when Karel’s hostile older brother demands that Matthew assist him in finding his brother’s assailant. At 16, Zoe is discovering the potency of her own sexuality and is bored by boys her own age, so she pursues an American Ph.D. student at the neighboring college. Adopted as a baby, 13-year-old Duncan announces that he needs to find his birth mother and seeks permission from everyone in the family before trying to contact her. As the young people pursue their separate paths, their parents, Betsy and Hal, have their own problems, as their marriage is strained by Hal’s affair and Betsy’s withdrawal into her studies.

From her earliest work, Livesey has displayed an interest in how individuals cope with the physical and psychic space left by missing family members. Livesey’s excitement over her own discovery of family in Australia, after she believed she had no living relatives on her mother’s side, is reflected in Duncan’s search for the woman he calls his “first mother.”

It’s not the solving of the crime that moves the plot along—the discovery of Karel’s attacker is anticlimactic at best—but rather the quiet way Livesey explores the enduring and, in this case, elastic bonds of family love, even in the most stressful situations. 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.

 

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