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Previously published as Lost Boys, this quartet of over-layering stories introduces four strangers. The only thing they have in common is their dull English town and the unusual heatwave that broils its lack-lustre streets and wilting parks. They and their separate stories are drawn violently together when a young boy pulls them into the maelstrom of his fate.
Each is at a crossroads. Matt must leap the gulf between adolescence and adulthood. Megan needs to find her way out of troubled waters. A family crisis propels Jade to set her foot on a tenuous path of faith. Mrs Fairlie knows the bridge she faces but refuses to cross without knowing the fate of her son.
A pivotal event connects their narratives and their lives to demonstrate how fates intertwine and how the consequences of our choices can affect people we don’t even know.
Awards and Recognition
The crisis had united them, briefly; a family whose normal relations are scratchy and acrimonious. Their antipathies have taken on, over the years, the characteristics of an endurance sport; the endless, wearisome parry and thrust of bitchy remark and snide non-sequitur, the compulsive purloining of one another’s personal belongings; a circadian round of querulous irritation and reciprocal annoyance. They are all exhausted by it but, like marathon competitors, none will admit defeat. Their rancour inhabits the house like an additional resident with a personality of its own and no one will admit to spawning it, either severally or individually. Occasionally the brooding atmosphere is relieved by ferocious, physical hostilities; tempers unleashed in vicious tirades, objects hurled, hair pulled out in handfuls, bites that puncture the skin.
But regardless of internal wrangling, a family catastrophe is certain to reunite them in fervent, clannish accord. A disaster spells importance—personal aggrandisement; a sudden bringing to the fore from the nether region of obscurity where they resentfully reside, and for that reason alone they relish it. It puts them centre-stage and any sense of ignominy they might experience at having their dirty laundry aired, as it were, to the public gaze, is wholly eclipsed by the brief but glorious focus of the world’s attention; the Jeremy Kyle effect.