Henry Stanfield is pleased with his new title: 'Truth Commissioner' has a pleasing ring to it. But his neutrality, as the product of an Irish Catholic mother and an English Protestant father, is about to be tested. Francis Gilroy, Minister for Children and Culture, has murky secrets that could leave him vulnerable, but his people have dealt with ...
Henry Stanfield is pleased with his new title: 'Truth Commissioner' has a pleasing ring to it. But his neutrality, as the product of an Irish Catholic mother and an English Protestant father, is about to be tested. Francis Gilroy, Minister for Children and Culture, has murky secrets that could leave him vulnerable, but his people have dealt with them; after all, it was a war they were fighting. James Fenton, retired RUC policeman, is haunted by the small, vulnerable white face of a boy who he could have saved, and failed to. Danny and Ramona flick through brochures, choosing a cot for their unborn child - but now the past is about to pull Danny back to Belfast and threaten everything beautiful and fragile that they have built together. Four very different men hold the secret between them of what happened to fifteen-year-old Conor Walshe on 10th May 1990. David Park tells each of their stories in prose that is insightful, direct and utterly involving.
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-12-24 In this wrenching what-if exercise, Irish author Park (Oranges from Spain) invents a fictional truth and reconciliation commission (modeled on South Africa's real one) that aims to heal Northern Ireland's troubled past. Three men, all called to testify, have held close the truth about 15-year-old Catholic lad Connor Walshe's disappearance in 1990, after he was found to be a hapless informer against the IRA. Fifteen years later, former IRA leader Francis Gilroy is now the minister of children and culture; former Royal Ulster Constabulary officer James Fenton, who recruited Connor, is a restlessly retired "inconvenient legacy of the past"; and Michael Madden, then an 18-year-old IRA runner, has been brought back from America to recount his role in Connor's fate. Overseeing the hearings is Henry Stanfield, burdened by the unleashed emotions and uncomfortably estranged from his pregnant daughter, who is a friend of Connor's sister. Park's soulful story about buried secrets, tangled lies and manipulated memories may be a little abstract for readers who didn't follow the Troubles, but this powerful fiction both humanizes and universalizes the civil war that gripped Ireland for so long. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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