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The House on Fortune Street: A Novel (P.S.)…

The House on Fortune Street: A Novel (P.S.) (edition 2009)

by Margot Livesey

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3462831,609 (3.69)24
Title:The House on Fortune Street: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Margot Livesey
Info:Harper Perennial (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, England, Suicide

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The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey



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This book is very well done. The structure is unique - it's a novel but reads almost like connected short stories as, beyond the first section, each following section offers a different character's perspective. The book deals with a few heavy subject matters and certainly will not be to everyone's taste. In fact, I think this is one of those books that people will either love or hate - no in between. I feel that Livesey writes very well about love, marriage, fidelity and trust. and has created a strong novel that makes you think. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Apr 5, 2013 |
Wasn't completely hooked at the beginning - I was thrown off because the book starts with Sean's section, whereas the flap copy made it seem like the friendship between the two girls, Dara and Abigail, was central - but I got more interested partway through Sean's section, and I loved Cameron's, Dara's, and Abigail's. The four sections, from four different points of view (with no switching back and forth, but pieces falling into place and making sense throughout), give the reader to understand how impossible it is to understand other people - what hidden things go on in their lives, the deep currents of feeling that are invisible, unguessable, mystifying. I can already tell I will forget, to some extent, the twists and turns of the story and the characters' relationships, and I will enjoy re-reading it sometime in the future.

What I came to understand was that there is a level of pain that destroys a person. If you take enough medicine to avoid that pain, you don't become your old self; you become a drugged zombie. (48)

All that fuss about the tree in the forest, watched or unwatched, was mere wishful thinking. If a passionately concerned participant made no difference, why on earth should a detached observer? (176)

This was another kind of magical thinking she had learned was common. When she wasn't keeping ill fortune at bay by imagining crises, she was doing her best to attract good fortune by pretending it was already present. (181)

"Secrecy isn't always a lie. People talk nowadays as if there are no taboos, as if everyone should act on their feelings, but what if you have the wrong feelings, what are you meant to do then?" (Cameron to Dara, 227)

"It doesn't matter how stupid the reasons are, if you're in the grip of a feeling it isn't stupid. You can't imagine it will ever change." (Dara to Abigail, 265)

( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
Interesting tidbits, but, ultimately, the interlocking narratives didn't work for me. ( )
  sly_wit | Mar 29, 2013 |
This dark and haunting novel is lyrical and sad and beautifully constructed. The subject is pederasty, a topic inherently too taboo to explore in an even-handed way or without provoking overriding disgust. But Livesey has created a story about the destructive pain caused by inappropriate desire told from the points of view of several characters.

The core characters are Cameron and Dara, the father who thinks of himself as a present day Charles Dodgeson whose particular affinity for pre-pubescent girls is also documented in his photography. Dara is his daughter, a social worker, who as an adult comes to know what her father is. Cameron’s wife, Fiona (whose slight body is androgenous as a 10 year old girl’s), throws him out when she discovers inappropriate photos taken by him of Ingrid, Dara’s childhood friend.

Dara’s neighbors are Sean, who is writing a book on euthanasia – recently divorced – and Dara’s confidant, Abigail, a theater producer. It is Sean who discovers Dara’s body. The tension builds as the reader understands the extent of Cameron’s obsession, filling one with foreboding, and making the experience of reading this book like turning the pages on a time-bomb. Secrets are revealed, unforeseen relationships are brought to light, and the shattering truth is exposed. Livesey’s prose is controlled, almost repressed, and tightly checked (like Cameron’s supposed self-restraint).

Reading the book is like watching a movie unfold in slow motion attributable to some invisible substance that impedes normal motion, or a dance in which the dancers change partners in an effort to find the perfect match that will set their innermost being soaring, but only find the next entrapping embrace.

My favorite line: “A liar may not be telling you the truth but they are telling you something about themselves.” Livesey has written a book neither to be forgotten nor ignored. ( )
  Limelite | Dec 21, 2012 |
Livesey uses an interesting structure: the book is divided into four parts, each from the point of view of a different character, all of whose lives are intertwined. First, Sean tells of his life with his girlfriend, Abigail, their friend and neighbor Dara, his failed efforts at graduate school, his divorce, and his suspicions that Abigail may be cheating on him. Cameron, Dara's father, relates a tragic story from his youth, his years of hiding a dark secret, and his relationship with his daughter, Dara. The third and fourth sections focus on Dara and Abigail, two very different young women who have been friends since college. Overall, this was a fairly interesting character study--a good but not great book. ( )
  Cariola | Jul 26, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061451525, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:51 -0400)

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Reveals how luck-- good and bad-- plays a vital role in our lives, and how the search for truth can prove a dangerous undertaking.

(summary from another edition)

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