3.5 out of 5 stars

It is 2008 and the rise and fall of the beast that was the Celtic tiger has left devastation and recession in its wake. One family that has been affected by it are the Blacks. They live on a farm in County Roscommon and the investments that they made while the markets were on the up have gone sour, whilst the people that they have invested with seem to have survived, they are holding the losses.

The family are Manus or Chief as he is better known, his wife, Nora and their sons, Cormac and Hart. There is a tension between the brothers as they both have affections for the same girl. Cormac has managed to escape to the city and university and Hart is seen as the natural successor to take over the farm. That moment is approaching soon though as Manus falls ill. He knows he is dying and springs a request onto the brothers that will place them in an untenable position…

In amongst all the bleakness and tension of the story though there is dry humour. I think that some of the subtleties of the plot washed over me, it harks back to the time when the Irish were oppressed and had to flee from their homeland, but set in the context of a small family facing a challenging time. She has a beautiful way of writing though, and even though it covers some challenging plot tropes, it was a pleasure to read.

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