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The Boy in the Field

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  4,860 ratings  ·  698 reviews
The New York Times bestselling 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 wh
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published August 11th 2020 by Harper
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Denise K.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Pat We hear what we want to depending on our own outlook. The different perspective... a flower, a protective shell etc

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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  4,860 ratings  ·  698 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The closer they got to him, the slower they walked. None of them spoke. Glinting bluebottles and smaller flies circled the boy. His hair was dark, his skin very pale. He wore a deep blue shirt, a color Duncan would later call cobalt, black shorts, and what appeared to be long red socks. At the local private school, the younger boys wore bright red knee socks, and for the briefest instant, Zoe thought, Oh, he’s in uniform. A few steps closer she grasped the nature of the red.
Outside Oxford, e
Diane S ☔
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Love the vibrancy of this verdant green cover. Covers do attract.

Three children are walking home from school when they discover a boy lying in the field. He is very badly injured and there is a great deal of blood. It looked as if he had been stabbed and help is quickly attained.

Although there is the mystery of who was responsible for the boys stabbing, this is not a mystery per se. It is more a study of how those that found the boy changed their lives because of this incident. How just bein
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The ultimate locked room is another person's brain".

September 1999. The turn of the century was almost upon us. The Lang teenagers, Matthew 18, Zoe 16, and Duncan 13, were about to experience a life changing walk home from school. Their father, Hal, the town blacksmith and owner of the small town forge, failed to pick them up from school as expected. They started a five mile trek home along the fields bordering the road, barley on one side, cows on the other. Zoe spotted something in the field.
This is the book you need right now.

I am so glad I didn't pass this one by - what a wonderful story of three siblings whose lives are forever changed after finding a victim of a violent crime in a field on the way home from school. (Nothing graphic is written regarding the crime, so please do not be concerned or fearful that you might not be able to stomach what you read about it.) If you're a fan of William Kent Krueger or Ann Patchett; this is absolutely a must read for you. The writing is so
Nilufer Ozmekik
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Three siblings: Malcolm, Zoe, Duncan who are young teenagers wait their father to pick them up after school. When their father gets late, they decide to 5 miles long walk to their home because they think they can catch him at the road but they don’t!

Instead of spotting their father’s car, they spot something... no it’s not something... there’s someone on the field... a boy who wears red socks... oh no, they’re not socks, are the boy’s legs covered in blood? Sure, it is ... Zoe touches him to m
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
“The Boy In The Field” is a literary mystery that is more a coming of age story. Three siblings, walking home from school because their father didn’t pick them up, come upon a boy who appears to be sleeping, in a field.

The story is told in character chapters of the siblings. Finding this boy, who is hurt, effects them in different ways. This is a “quiet” story, full of observations. The children come from a loving family with supportive parents. There is a family dog, Lily, who seems to possess
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When people are forced to cope with traumatic situations, they sometimes reassure themselves by believing that everything happens for a reason. But what if life is causal? What if something happens and other “somethings” just organically flow from that event?

Margot Livesey sets up an early situation where three teenage siblings—Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan—spot a boy in a field on their walk back from school wearing long red socks (actually, trails of blood). They quickly act to alert the police and
Aug 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Christine
Elegant, chilling, and full of captivating humanity, The Boy in the Field slivers into the mind like a tiny fragment of glass into the skin: imperceptible until suddenly you can't think about anything else.

Just so we're clear: this isn't a genre mystery. It is possible to have a story with a random act of violence, detective inspectors, and a suspect at large that cannot be pigeonholed into a genre beyond "fiction". I make this point because the book may have been mis-billed as mystery/crime no
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Oprah picked it as a best of - need I say more? Okay just kidding (even though she did). This was another selection from the NYT best of 2020 in fiction and once again it was a winner. If you’re looking for a mystery or thriller you might find yourself disappointed as this one focuses on the aftermath of all those involved in the discovery of “the boy in the field.”
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5, rounded up.

I (vaguely) remember reading and enjoying Livesey's early novel Eva Moves the Furniture when it first came out, attracted primarily, IIRC, by the odd title; but have never felt compelled to keep up with her rather prolific output since - until the premise of this, her latest tome, caught my attention. It really isn't at all what I was expecting ... the 'mystery' of the titular character is something of a McGuffin, and not the focus of the book at all - which is more about how tha
switterbug (Betsey)
As the novel opens in Y2K (1999), three teenage siblings—Matthew, Duncan, and Zoe—are walking home from school. On their walk, they notice a young man, Karel (who they don’t know) unconscious, on the ground bleeding. It was obvious he had been severely attacked; finding him in time saves his life. All three hear him utter one word, softly, but each sibling hears it differently. From this act of offstage violence, Livesey, with undemanding delicacy, tells a complex domestic drama. It’s not morose ...more
This was another attempt to step out of my book comfort zone. Pardon me while I yawn and make myself a double espresso. The Boy in the Field is about what happens to a family whose lives are just barely brushed by incredible violence.

Walking home from school, three teenaged siblings investigate something they see in a field. When it turns out to be a boy their age, stabbed repeatedly and barely clinging to life, the experience impacts them in different ways. The eldest, Matthew, had been prepar
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe this is the sixth book I have read written by this author. It is a very different, unique and emotionally fraught landscape one enters in the reading of her books. I do believe I am feeling stumped as to how to describe this one.
We get to know the thinking of a set of siblings as they work toward growing up, and getting into their heads is a unique reading experience.
I did struggle with the time frame as it is set at the dawn of the millenium, but the family life and school experience
Mary Lins
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: complete
“The Boy in the Field”, by Margot Livesey, is set in the fall of 1999 in a small village near Oxford, England. One September afternoon, as Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan Lang are walking home from school, a flash of red catches Zoe’s eye across a farm field. She runs through the field, her brothers follow, to find a young man lying bleeding and unconscious on the ground. They find a way to call an ambulance and stay with the young man, Karel Lustig, until he is taken to the hospital.

What follows is ho
Joseph Nichols
Thank you, Harper Collins, for getting me a copy of The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey.

First, like many others in the review section here, I must just say that I was instantly drawn to the cover. You did a very nice job!

A quick spoiler-free summary: The Boy in the Field tells the story of three siblings who stumble across a boy who is barely alive while they are walking home. The police are notified, and the novel captivates the reader with the forever changed lives of the three siblings (
Bonnie Brody
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Its narrative, characterizations and structure all appealed to me. I have been a fan of Ms. Livesey's work for some time and this may be her best book yet.

The story starts with three siblings walking home from school and finding an injured young man in a field. He has blood on his legs and appears to be going in and out of consciousness. Before the ambulance arrives he whispers one word and each of the siblings hear it differently. The three interpretations are ''coward', 'cor
Kasa Cotugno
Although I've read other books by Margot Livesey, this is the best in terms of plotting, character, and resolution. It shows a maturity lacking in some other of her works, which actually have been labeled as YA. Here we have a coming of age but of three teenaged siblings, the focus equally divided. Matthew, Zoe and Duncan come across a young man who has been savaged (well, he is 18, not so much a boy any more, but The Young Man in the Field is a stupid choice for a title). Beginning with mishear ...more
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Thank you to Harper Books for my free review copy, all opinions are my own.

I was so looking forward to this book, mostly because Margot Livesey wrote The Flight of Gemma Hardy, which I read and ADORED back in college. I’ll say this — I liked this book. It was interesting, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for, mostly because I’m not sure I’m sophisticated enough to really get it. I think this story will play to the literary fiction-loving crowd, but a blurb on the back called it a psychological dr
This coming of age story was a solid 3 stars for me. Three siblings discover a wounded boy in a field and ultimately save his life. They all dealt with the violence that the boy must have encountered in their own way as they moved on. There was also the mystery of what happened to him.

I liked the story line and the journey these kids were on, but I just couldn't connect to them. They were too distant for me. Usually young characters bring the mama bear out in me putting me into protective mode,
Meg Lelvis
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
The book started off with interest and promised to be compelling. However, I didn't realize it would be a coming of age story for the three siblings who found the boy. After several attempts to keep reading, hoping to connect with the narrative and at least one character, I gave up. I'm in the minority, but unless you're interested in teenage drama, I don't recommend this book. ...more
Cherise Wolas
A delicate, quiet novel that is very affecting. In a small town near Oxford, England, three siblings, Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan, are walking home from school when they spot a boy lying in the field. It gives nothing away to say that Karel Lustig has been violently hurt. The effect of this discovery on the siblings is what this book turns on - their own before and after - as they begin their own journeys of self-discovery and coming-of-age.
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Talented author Margot Livesey has written another beautiful coming-of-age family saga (with an art theme) that kept me up all night turning pages! The three siblings in “The Boy in the Field” crawled into my heart .. I laughed & cried with all the characters. Book clubs will find many discussable issues including infidelity, violent crime, death, searching for the birth mother & beyond. Brava!
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book just didn't work for me and the same premise could have been a new favourite in another author's hands.

I know some people were disappointed because they expected it to be more of a crime 'whodunnit?' but I don't fall into that category. Usually I love family and coming-of-age stories like this and there were many elements throughout that reminded me of similar concepts executed in other books that I've enjoyed.

This story begins with three teenage siblings who, when walking home from sc
As they meander toward home after leaving school one afternoon three teenage siblings discover a boy, Karel, laying in a field, apparently severely injured in some fashion. The three do just what they should, finding help so that someone can come and get this boy to a hospital and treatment. The three teens are all changed in differing ways by this incident, and the author uses this incident to explore, with mostly a light touch, just how trauma can impact those who are not the victims of the tr ...more
Tinichix (nicole)
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a good fit for me, it was slow and consistent but was some beautiful writing. The audio narrator was very good. I seem to gravitate towards books with multiple POV’s alternating. I like when we have a window into a child’s POV and the events happening, and in this case we get three of those. Each child kind of coming of age and navigating the same situation in their own ways. The main characters in this book have a lot of secrets they have to bear and carry and keep amongst themselves. ...more
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, though it is not what I assumed it to be! I had expected a mystery -- a set of teenage siblings find a badly injured boy lying in a field. What happened? And that question plays a part, but only a little bit. It is more about living in a family. After this traumatic event, each of the siblings and their parents nurtures a secret, and so a more pressing question becomes how a family unit changes as a result of the mysteriousness of the separate lives within it.
Malena Watrous
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
My friend Nick, when talking about Margot Livesy, said that he always feels like he should like her books but then they leave him lukewarm. I had a similar feeling as I first tried to enter this book. A boy has been injured and three siblings discover his body in a field, and possibly save his life by alerting the authorities-and then their lives end up being changed by the episode. I didn't quite understand why his legs were all red. Bloody, presumably. But what had happened to him exactly? I m ...more
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Thank you, HarperCollins, for getting the uncorrected proof of The Boy in the Field to me so quickly as part of the Goodreads Giveaways program!

This enchanting novel by Margot Livesey begins as three young siblings—Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan—are walking home from school one day and find, yes, a boy in a field; it then proceeds to follow each of their lives after the event, in (generally) short chapters. Because the family (complete with an education-loving blacksmith father and a mother who’s a la
Erin Glover
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, I thought this novel was a mystery. But it doesn’t have the same suspense and plot twists as popular mysteries. Instead, it’s the story of how three teens’ lives are transformed by the discovery of a stabbed boy in a field. Each teen changes in a different way to the evil they observed. The town the live in, previously serene becomes dangerous-feeling for all of them. Perhaps the most impacted is the painter Duncan who is the youngest and adopted. All of a sudden, he must find his moth ...more
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Margot 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 restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published in Canada in 1986. Since ...more

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Secrets between siblings, grandparents with grievances, parents with problems. If you're looking for serious drama, check out these new...
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“People are allowed to be boring, but everyone should be nice to Duncan.” 0 likes
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