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On a promontory jutting out into the Atlantic wind stands the Home run by Brother Benedict, where boys are taught a little of God and a lot of fear. To Michael Lamb, one of the youngest brothers, the regime is without hope, and when he inherits a small legacy he defies his elders and runs away, taking with him a twelve-year-old boy, Owen Kane. Radio Eireann call it a kidnapping. For Michael the act is the beginning of Owen's salvation. Posing as father and son, they concentrate on discovering the happiness that is so unfamiliar to them both. But as the outside world closes in around them - as time, money and opportunity run out - Michael finds himself moving towards a solution that is as uncompromising as it is inspired by love.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099284598
ISBN-10: 0099284596
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 11mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 4-May-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Brother Michael Lamb works in an austere remand home and, while struggling to come to terms with the loss of his faith, abducts a young inmate - with the best of intentions, but with tragic consequences. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Until its last few chapters, which go askew with stagey portent, Irish writer MacLaverty's first novel has a slippery ambiguity of motive that is pretty interesting. Michael Lamb (who has been "Brother Sebastian" - a teaching brother in a home for wayward Irish boys - until his own father dies) escapes the school with a twelve-year-old student named Owen in tow. Battered, a chronic truant, an occasional bed-wetter, and, most crucially, an epileptic, Owen is the frail, consonant "lamb" whom Michael finds need to tend. On money willed to him, Michael takes Owen off to London: they hide - since to the rest of the world their flight is a kidnapping - and Michael's love for the thin, seized, disadvantaged boy grows in depth but also futility. This futility, an attraction to the void, is what prompts the ecstatic-perverse liebestod of the end; and it seriously mars the book. But until then, MacLaverty's now-you-see-it, now-you-don't of Michael's real feelings is delicate and involving. An interesting debut. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Bernard MacLaverty

Bernard MacLaverty lives in Glasgow. He has written five collections of stories and four novels, including Grace Notes which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. He has written versions of his fiction for other media - radio plays, television plays, screenplays - and wrote and directed the short film Bye Child which won a BAFTA award.

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