Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: In the midst of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, a young schoolboy struggles to escape the destruction storming around him
Inside his home in Derry, Joe Logan’s life is ruled by his tormented father; outside, by the tension and violence of the Troubles. Sometimes his father makes him run errands despite the nearby reports of gunfire. Other times his mother, afraid to be alone with her volatile and war-wounded husband, confines Joe to the home. A bright and sensitive young man, Joe finds solace and freedom in writing—a pursuit encouraged by Kathleen Doherty, a young teacher at a nearby school whom he meets and befriends. In Kathleen, Joe has found a friend who understands him, makes him laugh, and allows him to forget his burdens for a time. But everything changes when his brother, Brendan, arrives home from London, newly energized to join the raging fray, and cavalierly bringing the war straight into their home.