Love, even unrequited love, has the power to save your life is the book’s always timely message, and very quickly we watch as Jim falls head over heels for Saidhbh, the young woman four years his senior.
The music of 1984 and the period detailing are seamless, as is the growing sense of the complications that stand in Jim’s path as he tries to grow up in a country where there seems to be no future ahead of him.
The dark underside of Irish life in this era is also instantly recognizable to anyone who lived though the period. In The Fields Maher has marked himself out as one of the most distinctive and inventive new Irish voices in fiction in recent years.
Little Brown, $26.