3.68 (284 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 brothers, the regime is without hope, and when he inherits a small legacy he runs away, taking a 12-year-old boy with more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 17.78mm | 113.4g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140108114
  • 9780140108118

Review Text

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)show more

Rating details

284 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 18% (50)
4 43% (123)
3 31% (89)
2 5% (15)
1 2% (7)
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