‘Captivating’ Jan Carson
‘Dazzling’ Danielle McLaughlin
‘Utterly absorbing’ Kit de Waal
‘Brilliantly observed’ Elaine Feeney
‘A huge achievement’ Niamh Boyce
In 1982, Nuala Malin struggles to stay connected, to her husband, to motherhood, to the smallness of her life in the belly of a place that is built on hate and stagnation. Her daughter Sam and baby son PJ keep her tethered to this life she doesn’t want. She finds unexpected refuge with a seventeen-year-old boy, but this relationship is only temporary, a sticking plaster on a festering wound.
It cannot last and when her chance to leave Northern Ireland comes, Nuala takes it. In 1994, Sam Malin plans escape. She longs for a life outside her dysfunctional family, far away from the North and all its troubles, free from her quiet brooding father Patsy, who never talks about her mother, Nuala; a woman Sam barely knew, who abandoned them twelve years ago.
She finds solace in music, drugs and her best friend Becca, but most of all in an illicit relationship with a jagged, magnetic older man. She is drawn to him, and he to her, in a way she can’t yet comprehend. Sam is more like her mother than she knows.