Please join us for a virtual conversation with Margot Livesey & Gish Jen on Women & Children First's Crowdcast Channel to discuss Livesey's new novel The Boy in the Field.
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).
Margot Livesey grew up in a boys’ private school in the Scottish Highlands. She has published eight novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona, The House on Fortune Street, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and Mercury. Her ninth novel, The Boy in the Field, will be published in August 2020. The Hidden Machinery, a collection of essays on writing, was published by Tin House Books in 2017. Margot has taught at Boston University, Carnegie Mellon, Emerson College, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, among others. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Margot is currently teaching at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives with her husband, a painter, in Cambridge, MA, and goes back to London and Scotland whenever she can.
Gish Jen has published short work in the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and dozens of other periodicals, anthologies and textbooks. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories four times. Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, her work was featured in a PBS American Masters’ special on the American novel and is widely taught. Jen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and a Mildred and Harold Strauss Living; she has also delivered the William E. Massey, Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University. THE RESISTERS is her eighth book.