The Boy in the Field

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What to expect

‘A searingly intelligent writer at the height of her powers’ Jennifer Egan

‘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

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.

To experience the world as rendered by Margot Livesey is a singular, extraordinary delight’ Claire Lombardo

‘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

(p) 2020 Harper Audio

Critics Review

  • 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
  • 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
  • Exquisite . . . Livesey’s writing is quiet, observant and beautifully efficient

    New York Times
  • A superb family drama

    Daily Mail, Best Books of 2020
  • 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
  • Elegant writing, intriguing and subtle

    Lucy Atkins

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