The House on Fortune Street [NOOK Book]

Overview

It seems like mutual good luck for Abigail Taylor and Dara MacLeod when they meet at university and, despite their differences, become fast friends. Years later they remain inseparable: Abigail, the actress, allegedly immune to romance, and Dara, a therapist, throwing herself into relationships with frightening intensity. Now both believe they've found "true love." But luck seems to run out when Dara moves into Abigail's downstairs apartment. Suddenly both their friendship and their relationships are in peril, ...

See more details below
The House on Fortune Street

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

It seems like mutual good luck for Abigail Taylor and Dara MacLeod when they meet at university and, despite their differences, become fast friends. Years later they remain inseparable: Abigail, the actress, allegedly immune to romance, and Dara, a therapist, throwing herself into relationships with frightening intensity. Now both believe they've found "true love." But luck seems to run out when Dara moves into Abigail's downstairs apartment. Suddenly both their friendship and their relationships are in peril, for tragedy is waiting to strike the house on Fortune Street.

Told through four ingeniously interlocking narratives, Margot Livesey's The House on Fortune Street is a provocative tale of lives shaped equally by chance and choice.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Liesl Schillinger
What does it mean to be an unmarried woman?…In her new novel, The House on Fortune Street, Margot Livesey brings nuance, context and a cool head to this hot-button issue through detailed portraits of two friends in their 30s: Abigail, who owns the house of the title, and Dara, who rents the downstairs apartment. Both women are unmarried, but they have distinct emotional templates and back stories that give them different ideas about the role men ought to play in their lives…Livesey, the author of half a dozen previous works of fiction, is a lovely, cautious writer. She likes to take her time building the atmosphere her characters move through, adding increments of color, dot by dot.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

The absorbing latest from Livesey (Homework) opens multiple perspectives on the life of Dara MacLeod, a young London therapist, partly by paying subtle homage to literary figures and works. The first of four sections follows Keats scholar Sean Wyman: his girlfriend, Abigail, is Dara's best friend, and the couple lives upstairs from Dara in the titular London house. While Dara tries to coax her boyfriend Edward to move out of the house he shares with his ex-girlfriend and daughter, Sean receives a mysterious letter implying that Abigail is having an affair, and both relationships start to fall apart. The second section, set during Dara's childhood, is narrated by Dara's father, who has a strange fascination with Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and shares Dodgson's creepy interest in young girls. Dara's meeting with Edward dominates part three, which mirrors the plot of Jane Eyre, and the final part, reminiscent of Great Expectations, is told mainly from Abigail's college-era point of view. The pieces cross-reference and fit together seamlessly, with Dara's fate being revealed by the end of part one and explained in the denouement. Livesey's use of the classics enriches the narrative, giving Dara a larger-than-life resonance. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Dara, a therapist at a women's center, lives in the downstairs flat of her friend Abigail's London home. A workaholic actress and theatrical producer, Abigail lives upstairs with her boyfriend, Sean, a struggling Keats scholar and writer. Although Dara and Abigail were best friends in college, their lives are so busy there is not much time for getting together. Sean is financially strapped and agrees to coauthor a book on euthanasia. He suspects Abigail is having an affair. Dara is involved with a married man she is perennially sure will leave his wife. And although she is often able to help her clients with their problems, Dara has never resolved issues revolving around her parents' divorce. Her father, Cameron, has never been able to tell her he struggled with attractions to young girls, whom he photographed obsessively. How these four characters ultimately fail at connecting with each other results in a tragedy three will regret for the rest of their lives. Livesey's latest novel (after Banishing Verona) keeps readers brooding over the power of secrets in this dark and disturbing psychological tale. Recommended for literary fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
—Keddy Ann Outlaw

Kirkus Reviews
Love proves a destructive force in the lives of four Brits who have divergent perspectives on their interrelated dilemmas in another probing, satisfying novel from Livesey (Banishing Verona, 2004, etc.). In its first section, the story seems to be about a selfish, heartless actress, Abigail, who breaks up poor graduate student Sean's marriage, then sleeps with his university chum Valentine. Abigail's so busy and preoccupied she doesn't notice that her best friend, Dara, is in suicidal despair over a lying lover-but then again, neither does Sean until he comes across Dara's body in the downstairs flat of the house they all share on Fortune Street in London. The book's second section concerns Dara's childhood, seen through the eyes of her father Cameron, who has an unconsummated but unwholesome interest in prepubescent girls. His wife throws him out when she realizes his fondness for Dara's best friend is more than fatherly, and we see in the third section that his daughter has never recovered from Cameron's abrupt disappearance when she was ten. We also see that Dara is partly responsible for her disappointments in love, because she makes her boyfriends the obsessive center of her life. She's rather shocked by Abigail's casual attitude toward sex; even though the two women have been close since they met at university, their totally different personalities often chafe. Abigail, whose feckless parents let her work her way through both high school and university, is tough-minded and something of a user. She loves Dara, but can't understand her friend's neurotic vulnerability. In the moving final pages, Cameron confesses to Abigail what he could never tell Dara, and both confront theirfailures. "There was no question of them forgiving each other," Abigail bleakly concludes. Yet the novel is filled with sorrowful wisdom about the fallible human heart and our myopic view of ourselves and those we love. Moving, gruffly tender and piercingly truthful. Livesey has plenty of critical respect already, but her talents merit a broad popular audience as well. Agent: Amanda Urban/ICM
Ann Patchett
"I loved this book. The House on Fortune Street pulled me in and kept me rapt from start to finish. Margot Livesey is writing at her very best."
Geraldine Brooks
"Structurally daring and compulsively readable, THE HOUSE ON FORTUNE STREET illuminates the complexities of love in some of its most difficult guises, and of loss in all of its immensity. "
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061828744
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 307,653
  • File size: 497 KB

Meet the Author

Margot Livesey's acclaimed novels include The House on Fortune Street (winner of the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award) and Eva Moves the Furniture. She lives in the Boston area and is a Distinguished 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."

Read More Show Less
    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

Read an Excerpt

The House on Fortune Street LP A Novel
By Margot Livesey
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Margot Livesey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061470349


Chapter One

The letter came, deceptively, in the kind of envelope a businesslike friend, or his supervisor, might use. It was typed on rather heavy white paper and signed with the pleasing name of Beth Giardini. Sean read the brief paragraphs twice, admiring the mixture of courtesy and menace. Perhaps it had escaped his notice that he was overdrawn by one hundred and twenty-eight pounds? As he doubtless recalled, the bank had waived the penalty last time; this time, regretfully, they must impose their normal fee. Would he kindly telephone to discuss the matter at his earliest convenience?

Sitting in the empty kitchen, surrounded by the evidence of Abigail's hasty departure, Sean understood that he was suffering from what his beloved Keats had called bill pestilence. When he was still living in Oxford, still married, most people he knew, including himself and his wife, were poor but their poverty hadn't seemed to matter. Of course he had yearned after expensive books and sometimes, walking at night, he and Judy had stopped to gaze enviously through the windows of the large lit-up houses, but for the most part his needs had fitted his income. In London, however, living with Abigail, the two had rapidly fallen out of joint, as Sean was only too well aware. This letter was not the result of any reckless extravagance. For six months he had been trying to cut back on photocopyingand refusing invitations to the pub.

Now gazing at Abigail's plate, rimmed with crumbs and one glistening fragment of marmalade, he did his best not to dwell on all the steps, large and small, that had brought this letter to his door. Instead he concentrated on the hundred and twenty-eight pounds, not a huge sum but a serious amount to borrow and, realistically, he would need more, at least two hundred, to remain solvent. On the back of the envelope he jotted down dates and numbers: when he might receive his small salary from the theater, when various bills were due. The figures were undeniable, and irreconcilable.

He tried to think of people from whom he might borrow: his brother, one or two Oxford friends, his old friend Tyler. Much longer and more immediately available was the list of those whom he could not ask; his thrifty parents and Abigail jostled for first place. But then his second slice of toast popped up, and so did a name: Valentine. Sean had vowed, after their last book together, not to take on anything else until he had finished his dissertation, but such a vow, made only to the four walls of his study, was clearly irrelevant in the light of this current emergency. At once the figures on the envelope grew a little less daunting. With luck Valentine's agent would be able to find them another project soon. And if he knew he had money coming in, Sean thought, he could phone the bank and arrange a sensible overdraft.

He was reaching for the marmalade when he heard a sound at the front door. Thinking Abigail had forgotten something, he seized the letter, thrust it into the pocket of his jeans, and tried to impersonate a man having a leisurely breakfast. But it was only someone delivering a leaflet, one of the dozens advertising pizza or estate agents that arrived at the house each day. In the silent aftermath Sean couldn't help noticing that his familiar surroundings had taken on a new intensity; the sage-colored walls were more vivid, the stove shone more brightly, the refrigerator purred more insistently, the glasses gleamed. His home here was in danger.

Four days later Sean was sitting on Valentine's sofa, scanning the theater reviews in the newspaper, while across the room Valentine talked to his agent on the phone.

"So, it'll be the usual three payments?" The response elicited brisk note taking. Then Sean heard his name. "Yes, Sean and I are doing this together. He'll keep my nose to the grindstone."

Giving up all pretense of reading, he set aside the paper and studied his friend. In his gray linen shirt and expensive jeans, Valentine looked ready to hold forth, at a moment's notice, on some television arts program. His canary yellow hair had darkened in the last few years, and his features, which when he was an undergraduate used to crowd the middle of his face, had now taken up their proper places between his square chin and his high forehead. Even in June, Sean noticed, he was already mysteriously tanned.

"Excellent," said Valentine. Glancing up from the notebook, he twitched the corners of his mouth. After several more superlatives he hung up. "Well," he said, rubbing his hands, "I think this calls for an early drink."

He refused to say more until he had fetched a beer for Sean, and a gin and tonic for himself. Then he raised his glass and broke the news. His agent, Jane, had called to say that the Belladonna Society, a small but well-funded organization founded soon after the First World War, was commissioning a handbook for euthanasia. "They want to make the case for legalizing euthanasia and to give an overview of the medical stuff. They'll provide most of the material but there'll be some research and we'll have to do interviews with medical personnel, relatives."

As Valentine described the society's proposal, the number of pages, and the pay, Sean felt a cold finger run down his spine. "But isn't this like telling people how to kill themselves?" he said. "Isn't it better not to know certain things?" "I don't think so." Valentine swirled his gin and tonic. "As I understand it the information is out there anyway. Our job is to present it in the sanest, most lucid form. Just because you give someone a gun," he added, his chin rising fractionally to meet Sean's objections, "doesn't mean they have to use it."

"I think people usually do feel they have to use guns," Sean said. "And I think whoever gave them the gun is partly responsible. Couldn't Jane find us something else?"



Continues...

Excerpted from The House on Fortune Street LP by Margot Livesey Copyright © 2008 by Margot Livesey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2009

    The House on Fortune Street

    Livesey is excellent at telling a "small" story about people attampting to find themselves--mired in, and made by, past events of their lives. Passing the narrative back and forth from one character to another is done seamlessly. Small story or not, the author makes the reader care about the characters. The style is blessedly English, which means it is lucid and uncluttered. Great read! Too bad the book cover makes it look like chick lit. It isn't. I also highly recommend Livesey's Eva Moves the Furniture.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an intriguing character study

    Thirtyish Abigail Taylor and Dara MacLeod met while attending St. Andrews University. They became friends and years later remain BFFs. Abigail became an actress while Dara became a social counselor. They disagree on love and how to pursue it until each suddenly finds true love; Abigail with academic Sean and Dara with violinist Edward.-------------

    Soon after they meet the men in their lives, Dara moves into Abigail's house renting the downstairs apartment. Abigail receives an anonymous letter addressed to Sean insisting she is cheating; Dara reconciles with her father, who abandoned the family when she was ten. The letter and the father impact each relationship including that of the BFFs.--------------

    This is an intriguing character study as four people rotate with each telling their back story and their perspective of what is going on. The key to the story line is how each person's past long before they met one another and forged ties impacts on how each of them interpret the various relationships. Although the action is limited, readers who relish a 360 degree look at four relationships especially the same baggage an individual brings to each will want to read THE HOUSE ON FORTUNE STREET.-------------

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Anne NJ

    I must not have read the same story!
    A difficult read, but I persevered and finished it.
    Depressing and confusing, as if the chapters were out of order.
    Too often, I had to re read pages, having lost track.
    This was not my cup of tea, either.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    Not my cup of tea

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Very enjoyable

    An enjoyable read with twists and turns.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2009

    Four lives unfold in a web of love, friendship and chance encounters.

    Perhaps this is a love story. Perhaps it is a story of wanting to be in love. Either way, it is a gentle look at how searching for love--for oneself and from someone else--is fractured by misplaced trust, raw emotion and sheer chance. Four characters tell each other's life stories as reflections of their own in a shared experience of living in The House On Fortune Street. The author, Margot Livesey, establishes the backstories for each of the characters then turns the main intersecting part of the plot four times so that each character relates his or her perspective. The four stories are blended making actions and reactions from each character thoroughly reasonable for the reader. The story itself is simple--it is the character development and interplay which maintains the strength of the novel.Ultimately it is the resolution of what one needs from love that drives the story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2008

    Maybe the website should moniter reviews

    Just as the last person said thanks for spoiling the ending I will now not buy this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    Don't read the other review

    Thanks for spoiling the book's ending, anonymous...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 13 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)