This is a slim volume but it packs heart and soul into every page. The story of a mother and her two sons struggling to get by against the odds in a tough neighbourhood, it flits seamlessly between past and present in a very accomplished way. Michael is the younger brother and the narrator, and the fact that we know that his elder brother Francis has been killed from the outset does not make it any less impactful and moving when we find out how he died. It is a very skilfully written book about family, pain, loss and love. I read it in one sitting but it will stay with me for a long time. Recommended.