Criminals

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Overview

Margot Livesey's early novel Criminals is the story of adult brother and sister Ewan and Mollie and their decision to rescue an abandoned child. But is the child being rescued by these two, or abducted? Where is the line between moral and criminal behavior? Livesey paints a thrilling and devastating portrait of two people blinded by need and the desire for betterment.

A sympathetic and finely crafted novel of suspense and human susceptibility to temptation. On his ...

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Criminals

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Overview

Margot Livesey's early novel Criminals is the story of adult brother and sister Ewan and Mollie and their decision to rescue an abandoned child. But is the child being rescued by these two, or abducted? Where is the line between moral and criminal behavior? Livesey paints a thrilling and devastating portrait of two people blinded by need and the desire for betterment.

A sympathetic and finely crafted novel of suspense and human susceptibility to temptation. On his way to visit his troubled sister in Scotland, a London banker finds a baby abandoned in a bus station restroom and takes the child with him. Meanwhile, a foreign-born mother is missing her baby, and her scheming boyfriend sees an opportunity for a tidy profit. 288 pp. National ads. Reading tour. 20,000 print. Buyer's Choice

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Banker finds Baby in Bus station'' is the caption that uptight London bachelor Ewan Munro ruefully realizes will describe events in this intriguing novel about the banality of evil. Discovering a swaddled infant in a lavatory stall in Perth, Ewan almost absentmindedly takes the baby to his unstable sister, Mollie Lafferty, intending to call the authorities once he arrives at her home. Mollie is in a bad way; she has split with her novelist husband, anguished because he has fictionalized her in his current novel, and, she thinks, given away secrets she didn't even realize she harbored. Chunks of this novel are interpolated as Ewan reads it, adding tension to a narrative already taut with frightening implications. For Mollie now recognizes that her great need is to have a child, and she conspires to keep the baby. Meanwhile, the child's feckless father, an amoral layabout called Kenneth, who has impetuously abandoned his daughter, realizes that he can extort money when he shows up to claim her; and her mother, a nurse from Bombay, becomes distraught at the infant's disappearance. Scottish-born Livesey Homework controls the narrative with assurance, gradually laying bare the bedrock of her characters' inner lives. One reads with fascinated attention as Ewan and Mollie-he preoccupied by a lapse in his meticulously moral behavior that has made him complicit in illegal trading; she sliding into emotional breakdown-discover how easy it is to become criminals. Livesey maintains a low-key style that perfectly matches the way ordinary lives can slip into chaos; her elegantly simple prose, her control of pacing and characterization and her insights into human behavior combine to produce a fascinating narrative. 50,000 first printing; Literary Guild selection. Feb.
Library Journal
In this latest from Scotswoman Livesey, author of the well-received Homework LJ 12/89, an abandoned infant touches the lives of five very different people. A Literary Guild alternate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312424695
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,111,487
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Margot Livesey

Margot Livesey is the author of five novels, including Homework and Eva Moves the Furniture, as well as the story collection Learning By Heart. Born in Scotland, she lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is the writer in residence at Emerson College.

Biography

Margot Livesey is the award-winning author of a story collection, Learning by Heart, and of the novels Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, and Eva Moves the Furniture, which was a New York Times Notable Book, an Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year, and a PEN/Winship finalist. Born in Scotland, she currently lives in the Boston area, where she is writer in residence at Emerson College.

Author biography courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Livesey:

"My worst job was a very brief stint at a Hare Krishna factory in Toronto, packing incense. The combination of compulsory prayers and of having my friends get out their handkerchiefs whenever I entered a room soon made me give notice. My favorite job was working as a cleaner at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. We managed to do the work in half the time we were paid for and I loved pushing my broom around the galleries, getting to look at the art day after day."

"The first Americans I ever met were a family who came to teach for a year at the boys' school where my father taught. They invited us over for New Year's Eve and instead of the usual festivities spent the evening showing us slides of their very extensive holidays in Yosemite. Ever since I've had a mild aversion to slide shows and I still haven't been to Yosemite."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 24, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Perth, Scotland
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and philosophy from the University of York, England

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Very interesting and well written character study. The novel is

    Very interesting and well written character study. The novel is engaging to the very end. 

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