Margot Livesey

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  • 1990
  • Viking & Picador
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, iBook
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Celia Gilchrist believes that she has finally found the right man in Stephen, but when she moves in with him and his young daughter, Jenny, things begin to go subtly, menacingly wrong.

Money disappears, a sweater is ruined, small, commonplace lies escalate into awkward confrontations.

In the Author's Words

"After writing a terrible novel in my early twenties I vowed that I would never write another and started writing short stories. I kept my word for nearly a decade but then I came across a letter in the newspaper. It was from a woman with three children, two sons and a daughter, and the daughter was slowly—by her demands, her deceit, and her temper—wrecking the family. The father was almost entirely unaware of the situation. The letter ended with the anguished question: what can I do? If my husband behaved this way I could divorce him but I can't divorce my child.

"Having grown up as a very good stepchild, I was fascinated by this glimpse of how much power a child could have, if she chose to use it. I began trying to write a story about a child who sets out to destroy her father's second marriage and what happens when he's forced to choose between romantic and familial love. Two things soon became clear: this wasn't going to fit into a short story, and I needed an adult perspective."

Praise for Homework

"Immensely compelling and intelligent, profoundly chilling, Homework echoes Henry James's Turn of the Screw—it's that eerie, beautifully crafted, and brave in its willingness to illuminate the dark side of childhood and our own most closely guarded notions of innocence and evil." Francine Prose

"Riveting.... The dark legacy of unfilled longing and blighted innocence is illuminated with elegance and insight." Carol Verderese, The New York Times Book Review