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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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).

©2020 Margot Livesey (P)2020 HarperAudio

What listeners say about The Boy in the Field

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Spoilers ahead. Consider yourself warned.
Not as good as I expected. The writing style is easy and pleasant to listen to, but the story itself bothered me. Overall, it had very little to do with the boy they find in the field, but I guess the event leads to everything else in the book. Then, there's the victim's brother who is on a borderline psychotic quest to find his brother's attacker not to bring this person to just but because he thinks doing so will win the heart of his ex-girlfriend. And then there's the sixteen year old girl having sex (no, not just implied but actually having sex) with a twenty-something man (like...what??? 😳). The redeemable bits were the one kid's search for his biological mother. As an adoptee myself, I was able to identify with his motivations more than anyone else. He and the family dog (who is insightful and adorable) are really the only characters who got me through the book. It's one of those books where nothing really happens. If done correctly, these books can be splendid. This one was simply not splendid at all.

4 people found this helpful

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a break

really enjoyed this novel. The structure (each chapter told by one of the three Lang kids) provided variety and bite‐size chapters. The fact the kids were all under the same roof propelled a really enjoyable narrative forward, as if told by one person. Finally, it was just great to spend time in 1999, a much appreciated break from 2020.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

I really didn't enjoy this book. There wasn't anything wrong with it. It was just a little boring to me. I wouldn't want to discourage someone from trying it based on other reviews, but my opinion is that it was just ok.

3 people found this helpful

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For All Ages

I recommend this book to others of all ages. It speaks of the inner confusion of youth, the coming to terms with reality, the joys and sorrows of friendships, the importance of encouraging others, and the primary place of family.

2 people found this helpful

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A Small Gem

This is a story of a discovery that prompts two brothers and their sister to take risks, reach out and challenge themselves from the secure place of love that is their family. Beautifully written and read, it’s a reassuring tonic for difficult times.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Sad

I bought the book, having heard it was a feel good story, it was not. The ending broke my heart.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful story about 3 siblings

Absolutely loved this. English siblings Matthew, Zoe and Duncan find an injured boy (young man, really). The three teens each tell the story of how this incident stays with them.

Imogen Church does a wonderful job at capturing each of the characters personalities.

My only quibble was that all the characters seemed very out of place in a modern world. The artists, authors snd actors referenced were timeless and I believe the adults would. I just didn’t buy the kids not being tied into modern cultural literacy. The story takes place right before Y2K, but still the teens seemed from a much older time. That said, it was refreshing that they were so educated and aware of classical culture.

Totally worth the listen!

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Quiet, pastoral mystery

A perfectly decent and mildly entertaining story, told from a kid's point of view. The strongest part of the story was the picture of small-town English life.

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Disappointing.

Maudlin, sentimental, over-the-top. If you survive the treacle, you'll wish you had the hours back you spent on it.

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Lovely story

Lovely story about the depth of human feeling and the dynamics of complex family life.