Powerful second novel from the Whitbread-winning author of Patrick’s Alphabet.
In a country recovering from a brutal and divisive civil war, a young boy, Jamie, is knocked off his bike and dies in a city street. His father agrees to allow one of Jamie's lungs to be removed and flown over the border for a transplant.
As the night unfolds and the plane travels across the war-ravaged country, we see the drama from three different perspectives: The father, grieving for the son he perhaps never knew well enough; the lung's recipient, an old man fighting for breath; and in the turbulent sky between them, the young pilot who is closest to Jamie – or at least to his breath, his spirit, his voice.
“A bleakly powerful ending with a moving, finely contrived element of hope”
“Beautifully spare, poetic prose...haunting book”
“A thoughtful reminder of the wounds of conflict, and the depths of its scars... a clever, innovative, unusual book which is both timeless and timely”
“A well-paced narrative with carefully crafted twists...intensely visual descriptions... Inventive in its form and often profound in its poetry, Symmonds Roberts' gripping story is a meditation on the difficulty of forgiveness in wartime”
“Symmons Roberts is already a poet of note, and this...is discernibly a poet's book. Short and introspective, it stays in the mind and echoes”
“Magically spun out. An entrancing yet disturbing book”
“An absorbing fable of the here-and-now”