Homework

Margot Livesey, Author, Margaret Livesey, Author Viking Books $18.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-83000-8
A child's capacity for evil, favorite subject of much popular entertainment, is the theme of Livesey's ( Learning by Heart ) drably pedestrian though cleanly written tale. In order to escape a painful entanglement with an unfaithful lover in London, Celia Gilchrist, a thirty-something editor of unremarkable attributes, accepts a job in Edinburgh. Her life seems blissfully transformed when she embarks on a warm, trusting relationship with Stephen, a high school teacher separated from his wife. But this Edenic interlude proves short-lived: Stephen's wife, Helen, accepts a job in Paris, leaving their 10-year-old daughter, Jenny, to live with Stephen and Celia, who becomes convinced that Jenny is conniving at her removal. Because Stephen refuses to hear ill of his daughter, Celia is helpless to stymie Jenny's onslaught of petty tricks. Yet it's difficult to empathize with her plight, as Celia--like all of the characters here--is superficially drawn and surrounded by bland descriptive prose that makes her story even drearier. This first novel displays workmanlike construction rather than promise. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Paperback - 339 pages - 978-0-312-42044-4
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4668-1523-0
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-012662-4
Hardcover - 978-0-14-319585-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-319586-3
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