Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 60 Novels of 2000-2009 Countdown, No. 3

Eva Moves the Furniture by Margot Livesey

I'm not sure why this novel captivated me so much. I do remember reading it in a 48-hour period in 2002 after picking it up at the library; I stopped only for work, meals and family interaction (I stayed up one night to finish it). Perhaps it's the novel's realistic elements mingled with the supernatural in a way that is neither horrific nor comical -- it's just fascinating. This novel examines the life of a woman born amid omens who, at age 6, encounters two "companions" only she can see; they seem to determine the rest of her life, spent in Scotland before and after World War II, as she becomes a nurse first for soldiers and then at a boy's school. Scotland is not a mystical place -- too much poverty and suffering -- but it is a wonderful landscape on which the imagination can play, as it does here. Evas may be the only book on this list I can really say this about: I couldn't put it down. For one thing, it's brief -- about 240 pages. For another, it deals with a fantasy that's both inviting and increasingly tragic; finally, when one realized that the heroine's life is going to be brief, it becomes utterly compelling. 

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