From Booker-shortlisted Irish author, two families living the dream in small town America are forced to confront their guilty secrets in the aftermath of a shocking death.
This is just after the financial crash — people are beginning to discover the depth of the mess and all of a sudden the American dream is beginning to look tawdry. Michael Collins’s bravura novel begins with a spectacular death on a highway as a woman choses to drive off a bridge into a lake rather than face the reality of a recent cancer diagnosis.
It soon emerges that the cancer diagnosis is not the only secret the woman has been hiding. When her husband dies soon after, the real nature of an apparently happy marriage is inexorably exposed, adultery, lies, corruption, the list goes on, and the couple’s son Norman has to somehow make sense of it all.
Norman finds the life he has carefully constructed for himself decompose, and in the process mirrors the need for realignment that the greater world also has to face. He makes the unexpected discovery of the real treasures of life; in Norman’s case, love, and a brother he never imagined existed.