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Homework: A Novel Paperback – Sep 8 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (Sept. 8 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312420447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312420444
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 308 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,198,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
It was the Saturday before Easter and all day the weather had been seesawing between winter and spring. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Having read Criminals, The Missing World and Eva Moves the Furniture, I have finally gotten my hands on Margot Livesey's first novel. Homework is a haunting and complex novel about a clever and manipulative little girl who does everything in her power to tear her father and his girlfriend apart. What first appears as a jealous daughter's quest to get rid of her stepmother transpires into a psychological and disarming tale of the girl's malicious and conniving attempts to obtain sole possession of her father. Again, Livesey has proven that she is one of the cleverest authors of this time. The disturbing and haunting images that she concocts through her writing stimulate the reader's mind long after having finished the novel. I recommend all of Livesey's books most highly.
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Format: Paperback
...HOMEWORK is, after all, Margot Livesey's first novel. Those of us who have had the pleasure of reading her others have come to expect high quality from her - her talent for suspense shines so very brightly in CRIMINALS and THE MISSING WORLD, and her character development and storytelling, so evident in her masterpiece (my opinion) EVA MOVES THE FURNITURE, are stunning. HOMEWORK has its own bright moments - even for such a dark story. The tension that is present in the family's situation - a separated father with a bright daughter who resents the presence of a new woman in his life - is brilliantly portrayed and built upon. The psychological aspects of the story are seemingly well-researched and illuminated - and the frustration on the part of Celia (the 'intruder' in her potential stepdaughter's life) - is palpable and fraught with tension, as well as the very real sense of terror that she experiences when she realizes how deeply the young girl's feelings run. When 'things begin to happen' around the house, she becomes more and more aware of the lengths to which the girl will go to make her look bad, to make her feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. She sees Celia's presence in her father's life as a drain on the love that she wants for herself - and she will evidently go to extravagant lengths to drive Celia out of the house.
Livesey's prose is jewel-like in its precision - the tension in this story builds imperceptibly, almost excruciatingly so. Comparisons have been drawn in several places to Hitchcock's films - and that's not completely inappropriate here, although I think it's much more developed in THE MISSING WORLD and CRIMINALS. The story might not end in a manner to suit every reader - but wouldn't that be boring, if every book we read wound up exactly as we expected/wanted...? Margot Livesey is a fine writer - and this novel is gripping and entertaining.
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Format: Paperback
I don't understand how anyone could find this story boring. While not action-packed, this book provides a rich, realistic portrait of a child who has learned how to manipulate adults to get her way. The adults, while seemingly in control of the situation, are blinded to reality by their own preconceptions and their expectation that a child could not act with such calculating malice. And while Jenny is cruel and calculating beyond what one would expect from a child, her ways of lashing out ring true as things a child would choose to do. Although there is no definitive vindication at the end, it's clear that Jenny's actions will come to light. It took me a good hour after finishing this book to detach from the strong emotions it brought forth. I was furious with Jenny and horrified at her final act against Celia. A book that makes one live within its world is a success.
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