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The Boy in the Field: 'A superb family drama' DAILY MAIL

Margot Livesey

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A poignant and probing psychological drama that follows the lives of three siblings in the wake of a violent crime

'A tender, deeply humane exploration of family, philosophy . . . and what it means to hold another's heart in yours with tenderness and mercy'
Elizabeth Wetmore

'A superb family drama'
Daily Mail

'Exquisite'
New York Times

'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


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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Praise for The Boy in the Field: 'A superb family drama' DAILY MAIL

  • Every novel of Margot Livesey's is, for her readers, a joyous discovery. Her work radiates with compassion and intelligence and always, deliciously, mystery

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Margot Livesey is a searingly intelligent writer at the height of her powers.

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