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Eva Moves the Furniture

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,630 ratings  ·  237 reviews
On the morning of Eva McEwen's birth, six magpies congregate in the apple tree outside the window--a bad omen, according to Scottish legend. That night, Eva's mother dies, leaving her to be raised by her aunt and heartsick father in their small Scottish town. As a child, Eva is often visited by two companions--a woman and a girl--invisible to everyone else save her. As she
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2002 by Picador (first published 2001)
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Eva Moves the Furniture came to me by way of Rodney's Bookstore in Brookline. Margot Livesey's fictional life of Evan MacEwan in WWII-era Scotland appealed to me with its mention of ghostly companions on the back cover. The furniture moving reference reminded me of my studies in Spiritualism, so I brought it home.

From the beginning, the writing style was very engrossing. Livesey's prose is sturdy and clean, and yet extremely evocative of mood. Her words are expressive, but never overstated or gr
3.5, I think.

I just have to say I loved how Margot Livesey did her ghost elements! I thought it was very creative, not to mention personally satisfying. Her prose wasn't as rich as I was hoping it would be, though. Oh well.
As for the story, it wilted in the middle (or at least I did) and I started losing interest. But then, it got good again, and ended on a beautifully heartbreaking note which I loved; it made me cry! Only a little, but there were tears, nevertheless. I do so love it when I am m
Something about this book just really clicked with me. Perhaps it was the beauty of the cover, which so perfectly seemed to match emotions and loneliness of the words inside. Or perhaps it was because I'd just finished a book where the author insisted on beating readers about the head with unnecessary words and imagery. Whatever the reason, this is one of those books that I enjoyed every page of, and was sad to see end.

Livesey's writing has been described by others as "clean" and I can't think
Jen Wrenn
Aug 05, 2007 Jen Wrenn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like ghost tales
Very odd book but enjoyable nonetheless. It's spooky enough to keep you reading to find out if Eva's "companions" are sticking around to protect her or to do her harm!

I was talking to my friend Jane about ghosts and how much I get a kick out of the Travel Channel's "Most Haunted" show. She indicated I should read this book, which has actually been on my "to read" list for about 5 years! Her comment made me suddenly remember it... then a few days later, it was on my chair at the office.Hooray for
This is a story about a motherless child who is looked after by her father, aunt and a couple of ghosts.

I guess I thought this would be a heartwarming, quirky, magical story. Unfortunately, this book was mostly boring and somewhat depressing instead. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters and felt the plot was pointless. 1 star.
A strange supernatural story. I don't think I get the point: Ghosts from the past direct a girl's life, to the frustration of those of us who would like to see her follow her own damn path. Were they right? Were they wrong? Who cares?
Ok, I found this book sad,engaging and a little creepy. But, read the entire thing. I figured out how it would end, but felt compelled to follow through. Not something I'd highly recommend, but then not drivel either.
I finished this book in 2 days; it's the type of book that once you start it's hard to put down. It's a mysterious but touching story about the connections and love between mothers and daughters.
Oct 11, 2010 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenny by: Cece
I got this book the same day as The Missing World (same author), which I read first, though this is the one that was recommended to me specifically. I liked The Missing World but didn't love it, so Eva sat on the shelf for a year and a half before I started it. At first I thought it was a well-written but rather quiet book - the kind that often isn't published because it doesn't have "breakout" written all over it. But it drew me in, and the end made me cry. I think this is the only book that ev ...more
Loyola University Chicago Libraries
Cudahy Main Stacks: PR9199.3 .L563 E84 2001.

A spare, dispassionate ghost story. In 1920s Scotland, Eva grows up without a mother, but has two "companions" who keep her company as she goes to school, becomes a WWII nurse, and enters into the adult world of romance and family. The figures are bossy rather than scary; they routinely interfere in Eva's life to steer her in a certain direction and keep her from pursuing relationships or jobs of which they don't approve. There is nothing particularly
A spare, dispassionate ghost story. In 1920s Scotland, Eva grows up without a mother, but has two "companions" who keep her company as she goes to school, becomes a WWII nurse, and enters into the adult world of romance and family. The figures are bossy rather than scary; they routinely interfere in Eva's life to steer her in a certain direction and keep her from pursuing relationships or jobs of which they don't approve. There is nothing particularly supernatural or compelling about the arrange ...more
Jul 10, 2007 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like cozy British fiction
I guess I determine the greatness of a book, by if it makes me cry, or at least has the ability to provoke some sort of intense emotion. A few year ago, I tried to start this book, but couldnt get into it. Last year, after a push from my Mother, I tried to read it again. I was obsessed with it. I dont think this book is so much supernatural but about life-living, dieing, love, whatever. I just loved Eva, and felt so involved in her life! As I like to say, I am NOT A book or movie cryer, unless s ...more
Dale Kushner
Despite the obvious success of our rational minds, most of our life is dominated by the unexplainable. One of the reasons I cherish Margot Livesey’s enchanting and enchanted novel, Eva Moves The Furniture, is that the author allows mystery center stage without trying to explain the ineffable via psychology or as a function of our imaginations. In the novel, bereft of her parents, Eva McEwen is inexplicably companioned by a woman and child visible to no one but herself. These figures, neither gho ...more
Alan Marchant
Eva, do not go gentle into that good night!

Oh yeah, that advice only applies to men. Which helps explain why this cannot be a crossover novel. Margot Livesey's female characters seem natural enough, but the men are less than half-dimensional: passive, clueless, and prepubescent.

Come to think of it, that sort of describes Eva as well. She contents herself with moving the furniture when she should be raising Cain or at least making house.

The most interesting aspect of this pleasant little novel i
I was really moved by this novel. I worried when I began it--the language seemed plain (though I now realize that was really working in its favor, and it has just enough lyricism) and the characters sometimes seemed too good or too easy or something. But these issues faded the further in I got. And the ending moved me very deeply. I've also felt this way about a short story I read of hers--that at first it seemed simple, but emotionally it reached such a deep (and in that case devastating) place ...more
After reading a Margot Livesey book for book club and really enjoying it (thank you Anne for recommending it!), I thought I'd pick up another. Wow, I liked this one even more. If you liked Sula by Toni Morrison or The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, any of those books that deal with the afterlife and loneliness with such grace and bittersweetness, then you will find this book touches your heart long after you have finished reading it.
Magical realism is a genre which many readers enter with caution. I don't know why, but I tend to jump in. This novel isn't steeped in a lot of magic, so if you're wary about trying it, don't be. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that the mysterious figures are ghostly, and if you've watched or read any ghost stories since the movie "The Sixth Sense," you probably, like me, approach every new ghost story wondering "okay, what do these spirits want or need?" And therein is the most compelling r ...more
This was a well written novel but frankly not that moving, and I found myself having to go back to remind myself what had happened when I picked it up each night, or every other night, to read it. I am also not a huge fan of using fantastic elements in most fiction, unless it is used sparingly and carefully. In Eva Moves the Furniture,
it is integral to the story and not until the end do we really understand why - or how much - we are being asked to suspend our disbelief.

What I did like was the
Meg Storey (Editor, Tin House Books): Several years ago, I was standing in the Tin House magazine office holding a book. The managing editor at the time saw the title and said, “That book smote me.” The book was Margot Livesey’s Eva Moves the Furniture and I remember thinking at the time that “smote” was the perfect word to describe the work’s effect on its reader. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a young woman named Eva whose mother died shortly after giving birth to her. Eva is visited through ...more
Elaine Lautzenheiser
Loved it! A powerful subject told in a gentle manner.
I can't remember the last time a book made me cry. Before this one, that is. Lovely. So lovely.
This story captivated me from start to finish--I couldn't put it down. The writing was beautiful, straight-forward, sensitive, and respectful of the reader. I especially loved that the characters behaved and thought like real people. Thankfully, Eva was not the typical cliched, feisty, female protagonist constantly mouthing off to everyone. Instead she was a quiet, thoughtful person trying to make sense of love, loss, duty, and mystery; the stuff of real life. The story plumbs the depths of seve ...more
Kristen Boers
A graceful little ghost story. After her mother dies in childbirth, Eva grows up post WWI constantly accompanied by two women she knows only as the Companions. From her childhood in Scotland to her career as a nurse during WWII, the Companions are never far away. Less about scares and more about how the legacy of love follows us through the generations, “Eva Moves the Furniture” feels like a book from a different time. The prose is deliberate but fluid, the characters familiar but surprising, th ...more

This was part of that faze where my friends and I tried to read books with our names in the title. This traces Eva's life and the links between mother and daughter live on beyond the grave.
I've read this book three times. It's a lovely, if sad, story about Eva, a girl whose mother dies shortly after giving birth to her. Eva lives a life that is muted--she nearly always does what is expected of her--and she knows sacrifice and loss. She also knows what it's like to be haunted, but not by scary ghosts. Her "companions" guide her through her short life. I read this book because it comforts me, though I'm not sure why. It's like a bubble bath, or an evening spent sipping tea, curled u ...more
This is an excellent read. It is one of my favorite contemporary works for adults. Eva is a superb narrator: she has a very distinct voice, an intriguing view of the world, and interesting experiences to relate. The Scottish setting in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s is delightful and absorbing; I was always surprised to look up from my reading and find myself in Massachusetts, 2014. While this story reads quickly, the characters will stick with you after you're done reading. Even though I've read thi ...more
Teresa Lukey
Surprise! This is a book I had never heard of, I just saw this one at a book sale and it sounded interesting. I found it enjoyable, but be prepared to cry at the end.
Meg Mullen
This was an enjoyable story. On the day that Eva is born, a flock of magpies signals an upcoming death, and Eva's mother dies that day. As Eva grows up under the care of her father and aunt, two additional figures - visible only to Eva - make regular appearances and, sometimes, mischief. Eva refers to them as the companions. No spoilers here, the story has a nice arc and a few unexpected spots in the plot.
Here's where I'm left scratching my head. The structure of this plot seems ideal to have Ev
This was an unexpected surprise. It was one of those books that I couldn't remember reserving - I read so many reviews and just automatically reserve them! I would describe the tone as very "Wuthering Heights," something bigger and more mysterious was always in the background. I also enjoyed this book more and more as I read; the best way I can describe it was like making caramel. I knew when it started that it would be rich, but in the beginning things were still disjointed. Suddenly, it all be ...more
In this book Livesey tells the life story of Eva. After her mother dies after giving birth to Eva, Eva is raised by her father and aunt in the lowlands of Scotland during the 1920s. Throughout her life, Eva has two invisible companions, an older white haired woman and a young, adventurous girl, both of whom follow her during her school days, her nursing studies, and her later life in the Scottish highlands, the homeland of her mother. In the end, their identities are revealed to Eva, and she gai ...more
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Margot Livesey grew up in a boys' private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Peng ...more
More about Margot Livesey...
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