Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Q&A Margot Livesey: Second Chances

Originally appeared in the Boston Book Review
(2000: Date Approximate)

Margot Livesey grew up in Scotland and teaches in Boston. Her previous books are "Homework" (1990) and "Criminals" (1995), both novels, and "Learning By Heart" (1986), a collection of short stories. Hazel, the main character of her new novel, "The Missing World" (2000), has lost her memory after being hit by a car.

The truth was . . . he found the seizures more fascinating than distressing. After ten days at home Hazel was still having at least one, sometimes several, a day. A few were so minor as to be barely perceptible: she would put down her cup, blink, and continue with what she had been saying or doing. Others, like this afternoon's, were a force of nature. And it was during these, while she foamed and thrashed, that she made her odd pronouncements. Much of what she said was gibberish, but Jonathan sensed an ancient power seeking a conduit. He understood why, in other times and places, epileptics were regarded as prophets.
   "The Missing World"
HB: There's a lot of neurology in "The Missing World". There's the boy with Tourette's syndrome and there's Hazel with some brain damage.

ML: Part of the interest for me in this novel was researching various conditions and talking to people who suffered memory losses or seizures or other uncomfortable experiences.