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Eva Moves the Furniture

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  2,009 Ratings  ·  290 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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Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This book is like listening to a bright, interesting old lady reminisce about her life. The writing is lovely, the time period brought vividly to life and the characters finely drawn. A warning though, this book is about a largely uneventful (though unusual) life. It's a character study rather than event filled historical fiction. There's a great deal of truth here, especially about mothers or mother figures and the children they love.

My only complaint is the title. It's hard to remember and ha
This is a strange little book. It is very like a fairy-tale, but it's set just before and during World War 2. It follows Eva from birth to death, covering her childhood, her stint as a nurse during the war, and, most interestingly, her ability to see ghosts. It's a short book and it doesn't waste any words--it reminded me a bit of how someone might write an account of their own life: just the highlights, just the parts that mattered. I enjoyed this book very much.
Jen Wrenn
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
May 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
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?
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dale Kushner
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, gothic
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
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
What a beautiful, captivating tale. Everything about this book was a delight. The atmosphere of the Scottish town where Eva was brought up, the attitudes & behaviour of the characters, the loneliness, loss & emotions they felt, all were beautifully brought to life.....& woven in amongst this day-to-day life was the hint of the supernatural - the mysterious "companions". Guardian angels at times, but at others seemingly naughty spirits, making it hard to determine their intentions tow ...more
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
I enjoyed reading this story about a woman who sees ghosts and how that impacts her life during the early 1900s. Most of all, this book is emotional and haunting, real and yet (?)... The ending surprised me the most but it left me feeling like the story was complete. Hmmm, perhaps I shall read more by this author, since I loved her prose and her story-telling.
melanie (lit*chick)
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to melanie (lit*chick) by: e, jill, katherine, audrey
she really knows how to tell a story...marvelous.
Teresa Lukey
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it

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.
Kseniya Melnik
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember the last time a book made me cry. Before this one, that is. Lovely. So lovely.
Elaine Lautzenheiser
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved it! A powerful subject told in a gentle manner.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
As unlikely as this death fantasy was, there was still something soothing about it. Gothic and atmospheric, it took place in Scotland in a time bracketing WWII. Eva grows up motherless, in the care of an older father, David and his sister, Lily. There is the suggestion that Eva's access to both the natural and supernatural worlds may be because something of the 'Fey' runs in her veins. I like that. Basically I found Livesey's story to be a readable Fairy Tale with some historic interest. Still, ...more
Hilary Thompson
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I remember finding this book after looking around at a Goodwill for about an hour and I immediately knew it was magic. I love anything paranormal, though this story was great because it wasn't the only element depended on to tell the story of this girl and her family. There are many other great elements to this tale. Truly a great book to read at least once in your life.
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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...