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'A lovely prose style, crisp & flowing & imbued with warmth & humanity' Donal Ryan
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Belfast 1955: our past was still their future . . . In the summer of 1955, Belfast is a quiet, apparently peaceful backwater. Trolleybuses run in a leisurely way through sparse traffic, and lamplighters go about at night. Still, though Ulster’s eruption of 1969 is fourteen years away, all the seeds of that conflict are being sown. There is an uneasy, palpable tension in the air, yet, for the most part life seems ordered and calm. In this sleepy, pleasant world, Brigid Arthur, five, and her brother Francis, eleven, live right on the edge of town in a close circle of family and friends. But over that long hot summer, everything begins to change and Brigid struggles to understand the complex adult world around her, a hidden world she often misinterprets. Through a series of events and revelations, some magical, others painful, she learns that the world is full of anguish but also full of hope and wonder. Then Brigid and Francis know what it is they have to do, separately and together, as, like the “Brother and Sister” of Grimms’ tale they “go forth together into the wide world”. A poignant and lyrical story of a family, a town and a time at once distant and disturbingly familiar.
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