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Margot Livesey Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Homework (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Criminals (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Missing World (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Eva Moves the Furniture (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Banishing Verona (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The House on Fortune Street (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Flight of Gemma Hardy (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mercury (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Boy in the Field (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Road from Belhaven (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Learning by Heart: Short Stories (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Kenyon Review, Sept/Oct 2019(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
As We Were Saying: Sewanee Writers on Writing(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Margot Livesey is a bestselling literature and fiction author from Scotland. She was brought up in a private boys school in the highlands of Scotland where her mother was a school nurse and her mother a teacher.

As a teenager she went to the University of York from where she graduated with a degree in Philosophy and English. When she was in her twenties, she worked in restaurants and shops as she learned how to write fiction.

“Learning By Heart,” a collection of short stories, was her debut work that she first published in 1986. Her best known long form novel is “The Flight of Gemma Hardy,” which has become a popular best selling title.

Apart from her writing, Livesey has taught at Williams College, Boston University, the MFA program at Warren Wilson College, and Bowdoin College. She has also received fellowships from the likes of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and the N.E.A.
She currently teaches at the Iowa Writers Workshop and makes her home in Cambridge, where she lives with her painter husband.

Many of Margot Livesey’s novels have been guided and inspired by reading. She has always believed that writing and reading go hand in hand. As such, it is always a surprise to meet students in college who want to be authors but have no interest in reading.

As for what has inspired her, Margot has said that she learns something from every work she reads either what to avoid or what to do. Still, she has learned a lot from Doris Lesing, George Eliot, Elizabeth Bowen, and Ford Maddox Ford about the social and psychological possibilities of the novel.
She has also learned an enormous amount about suspense from reading the adventure stories of the likes of John Buchan and Rider Haggard which she read as a child.

Margot joined Tufts University as a professor of Creative Writing in 1983. By 1986, she had published her first creative work which was a collection of stories, “Listening by Hear” a novella from which the collection gets its title and nine short stories.

“Homework,” her debut novel, was first published in 1990. The novel tells the story of a book editor from Edinburgh who gets into a relationship with a man who has a disturbed child. The novel would get nominations for several awards and made the short list of the WH Smith best first novel award.

“The Flight of Gemma Hardy” by Margot Livesey is an excellent story that will get the reader in thrall for its entire length. The lead is Gemma Hardy, a girl who has to leave her home in Iceland to go live in Scotland when her widower father dies at sea. In Scotland, she lives with her kind uncle and his family.
But it is not long before her aunt’s resentment is evident as she makes it clear that she is an unwelcome guest at her home. Luckily, she manages to get a scholarship and will soon be heading to a private school. She is overjoyed and eagerly heads out to Claypoole only to find herself being treated like a lowly unpaid servant.

Gemma gets another break when the school goes bankrupt and she leaves for the Orkney Islands where she has found employment as an aupair. She works at the home of a London businessman named Mr. Sinclair who has an eight year old that needs to be taken care of.

She has always had high standards but even before they meet he is intrigued by the rich and enigmatic Sinclair who flies to the Island whenever he pleases. It is not long before the two are drawn to each other. But this is just the precursor to her journey of discovery, passion, redemption and betrayal.

Margot Livesey’s “The Boy in the Field” is set in late September at the tail end of the 20th century.
The leads are Duncan, Zoe, and Matthew Lang who were walking home from school when they stumble upon a boy lying unconscious and bloody at the side of the road. Their quick intervention saves the man’s life and changes the lives of the three teenage boys.
Matthew, who is the eldest, develops an obsession with finding the man that had viciously attacked the victim and secretly searches the town alongside the brother of the victim.

Meanwhile, Zoe trawls the streets of Oxford scrutinizing every man only to find that one American graduate student returns his scrutinizing look. Duncan who is the youngest of the bunch who has often thought that he could have been adopted suddenly wants to look for his birth mother.

In all this, there is a feeling among all the teenagers that there is something very wrong with their parents’ marriage. Over the autumn, each of the siblings has to deal with contradictions and complications of young adulthood as they find themselves driven apart yet drawn together.

Writing with deceptive simplicity, Margot showcases her skill in writing a story with tenderness, intelligence and an excellent understanding of often changing human impulses.

“Eva Moves the Furniture” by Margot Livesey is the story of Eva McEwen whose birth was marked by the congregation of six magpies outside her parents’ bedroom window. According to Scottish tradition and beliefs, this was a terrible omen and this is confirmed by the death of her mother that very night.

Eva has to be raised by her heartsick father and her aunt in the small Scottish town she calls home. In her childhood, she is often visited by a girl and a woman who are invisible to everyone though she does consider them her closest companions. As she grows older, the intentions of her companions become unclear and she does not know if they intend to harm or protect her.

It is a magical story about the profound connection between daughter and mother, love and loneliness as it fuses the complexity of adult passions with the simplicity of a folktale.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Margot Livesey

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