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Eva Moves the Furniture

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,546 ratings  ·  228 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
...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2002 by Picador (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Kate
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
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Melee
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
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Ashley
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
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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
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Rachel
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.
Eavan
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?
April
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.
Jenny
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
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Elizabeth
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
Emily
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
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polly
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
Kim
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.
Mary
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
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TinHouseBooks
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
Holly
I can't remember the last time a book made me cry. Before this one, that is. Lovely. So lovely.
Susan
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
Karen
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.
Christina

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.
stephanieisabookworm
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
...more
January
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
bookczuk
Jan 28, 2009 bookczuk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to bookczuk by: Nancy Oakes
Shelves: bookcrossing
A quiet but compelling book this was (and now, I sound like Yoda!) The dust jacket doesn't really do it justice. But Quinnsmom promised me I would like it, and she was spot on.

I had an imaginary friend when I was a child, but he left me before I reached 5. Eva's friends, her "companions" stay with her throughout her life. From her lonely, somewhat isolated childhood (she was raised by her father and spinster aunt-- her mother, Barbara had died in childbirth), through her becoming a nurse, fallin
...more
Jeff Holcomb
Margot Livesey came highly recommended by my writing instructor at Grub Street, and for the most part I agree: she's an excellent writer. She's writes with authority and command, and the reader never loses the sense of authorial control. I was drawn specifically to Eva Moves the Furniture because of the subject matter--the protagonist is presumably a paranoid schizophrenic--since it parallels my own novel. However, my major gripe with how Livesey deals with Eva McEwen's mental illness is that sh ...more
Michelle
Eva was born under the ominous omen of 6 magpies in a tree outside. When her mother dies right after childbirth, she is left to her father's care until her aunt arrives, having given up her own dreams to help care for Eva. They are not the only ones to watch over her, as she has two "imaginary friends": one a young girl, and the other is an older woman. It becomes clear that these are not ordinary childhood imaginings as she gets older, but she is unsure if they are guardian angels, ghost, or pe ...more
Christy
As others have noted, Livesey's writing style is clean, not exactly spare but not flourished or gilded. And she has all the components for a compelling story, but it never quite gets off the ground.

Eva is born under a bad omen. We see other similar omens throughout the story, some that tell us quite a lot, while they seem to go over the head of Eva, the protagonist, despite her having the same info we have. Unfortunately this foreshadowing starts feeling heavy-handed about halfway through the no
...more
Kate
"On the morning of Eva McEwen's birth, six magpies congregate in the apple tree outside the window -- a bad omen, according to legend. That night Eva's mother dies, leaving her to be raised by her aunt and heartsick father in the small town of Troon, Scotland.

"Eva's peaceful childhood is disrupted the day a woman and a girl mysteriously appear in her garden. Over the years, the two make frequent visits; invisible to everyone else, at first they seem benevolent, helping to tidy her room and colle
...more
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the inherent nature of the companions 1 2 Dec 07, 2014 09:22AM  
180 degree change? 1 12 Jul 19, 2011 06:07PM  
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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
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