A Kirkus Reviews 'Best Fiction of 2016' selection
A Bookpage 'Best Books of 2016' selection
A Barnes and Noble 'Best Books of 2016' selection
A Seattle Times 'Best Books of 2016' selection
'Mercury is as luminous, unforgettable, and perfectly rendered as only Margot Livesey can accomplish.' Dennis Lehane
An optometrist in suburban Boston, Donald is sure that he and his wife, Viv, are both devoted to their two children and each other. Then Mercury - a gorgeous young thoroughbred with a murky past - arrives at Viv's stables, and as she begins to ride him, dreams she had harboured and relinquished for the sake of her family are rekindled; dreams that soon morph into consuming desire.
As her infatuation with the thoroughbred escalates to obsession, it seems there is nothing - and no one - she will allow to stop her this time around.
Though Donald may have 20/20 vision, he is slow to notice how profoundly Viv has changed, and how much these changes threaten their quiet, secure world. But by the time he does, it is too late to stop the catastrophic collision of Viv's determined ambitions ...
'Margot Livesey is a searingly intelligent writer at the height of her powers.' Jennifer Egan
Livesey's latest (following The Flight of Gemma Hardy) is a fiercely intelligent exploration of the ways blindness to ourselves, others, and the power of passion and grief can divide and transform us. After his father dies of Parkinson's, optometrist Donald Stevenson's reserve deepens into what Viv, his wife of nine years, likens to the airless impenetrability of an astronaut's suit. Viv's teenage dreams of equestrian competition resurface when Mercury, an exceptionally promising thoroughbred, comes to board at the suburban Boston stable she helps run. Donald; Viv's boss, Claudia; and Mercury's owner, Hilary, assume that Viv accepts the obvious: Mercury is not hers to risk, compete on, or control. Facing their resistance to her growing obsession and increasingly distanced from Donald, Viv conceals the time and money she lavishes on the horse. When the stable is repeatedly broken into, she fears that telling Claudia or Hilary will lead to Mercury's removal. Instead, she buys a gun. Seen primarily from Donald's muffled, sometimes pedantic perspective, the novel unfolds patiently, through a chain of small and mostly well-intentioned deceptions that nevertheless yield catastrophe. Livesey's skillful play with the title's many meanings trickster god of speed, diagnostic aid, minor planet, deadly poison gives her narrative a rich imagery that interweaves seamlessly with its textured evocation of everyday life.