Why did I love this book?
This is a tender and profound novella of family and society set in 1985. That’s the year my son (protagonist, as a little boy, of my own book) was born. It feels a lot earlier; but then this is rural Ireland. It is about simple people living close to poverty and in a society so full of secrets it hardly seems to know it has secrets. The father of the family is called upon to be heroic. And he rises to the challenge.
This book is about all kinds of things: a particular kind of deep and festering cruelty embedded in Irish society of the time; misogyny; class; repression; fear. But ultimately it is about bravery, empathy, quiet heroism. It is quite wonderful.