Eva Moves the Furniture A Novel

Margot Livesey




Trade Paperback

240 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Atlantic Monthly Best Book of the Year
A Pen/Winship Finalist

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 widowed 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 collect the hen's eggs. But as Eva grows older, her visitor's intentions become increasingly unclear: Do they wish to protect or harm her? Is their meddling in her best interests or prompted by darker motivations?

In the shadow of World War II, Eva studies nursing in Glasgow, tending to the injured soldiers. But when she falls in love with a young plastic surgeon, her companions seem to have a very different idea as to her fate, and once again she finds herself unable to resist their pull.

Margot Livesey has been praised for her intelligent, suspenseful plotting, her astringent moral sensibility, her profound insight into character, and her spare, luminous prose. With Eva Moves the Furniture, Livesey has written her most compelling work yet: a magical novel about loneliness, love, and the profound connection between mother and daughter, one that fuses the simplicity of a fairy tale with the complexity of adult passions.


Praise for Eva Moves the Furniture

"Reader beware. If you give Eva McEwen just a little spave in your won imagination, she will start moving the furniture."—The New York Times Book Review

"Stunning . . . She limits her tale with beautiful evocations of the loneliness of childhood, the shimmery quality of ghostly spirits, and the fear and excitement of wartime."—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

What is extraordinary about this novel is the fretwork of feeling among its unorthodox cast of characters . . . Livesey has written a ghost story, of sorts . . . and, if it moves you, the end will send you back to the beginning."—The New Yorker

"Margot Livesey is a writer at the pinnacle of her craft. Eva Moves the Furniture is such a complete, sturdy yet graceful novel that it is difficult for a critic to wedge herself in between the writer and reader."—Los Angeles Times Books Review

"A quirky and enchanting novel about the thin curtain that seperates our world from the next."—Alice Hoffman

"Not since Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping has there been such a beautiful novel about the bond between mother and daughter. Radiant, perfectly poised, Eva Moves the Furniture casts a powerful spell."—Andrea Barrett

"In this fetching, ultimately moving novel, magic and danger are so inextricably bound that the palpable world seems slightly less trustworthy than the one you cannot see."—The Boston Globe

"Livesey is a writer of tremendous grace and precision . . . [Her] wonderful new novel will haunt you in a sweet way, and leave you with a spark of hope for us all."—Chicago Tribune

"Livesey writes with such restraint that the shock lies in events themselves, not her language. She uses metaphors beautiful in their precision . . . Simultaneously chilling and compassionate."—The Washington Post Book World

"Perfectly structured . . . In prose direct and precise she limns Eva's story with steady p0authority."—The Atlantic Monthly

"Conjured with economical and vivid detail . . . In fashioning a novel that is both moving and mysterious, she has also put an original spin on the ghost story."—The Austin Chronicle

"Eva Moves the Furniture is a finely crafted, exquisitely wrought novel."—Boston Herald

"Livesey's novel elegantly traverses loneliness, love, and the bond between mother and daughter."—Portland Oregonian

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Eva Moves the Furniture

Part I
In 1551 the Italian surgeon Fiorovanti was travelling in Africa when he came upon two men fighting a duel. The cause is unrecorded: a camel? a woman? While Fiorovanti...

Read the full excerpt


  • Margot Livesey

  • Margot Livesey is the award-winning author of the story collection Learning by Heart and the novels Homework, Criminals, and The Missing World. Born in Scotland, she currently lives in the Boston area, where she is writer-in-residence at Emerson College.

  • Margot Livesey