Today’s book is from the small Irish publisher New Island Books (the last title of theirs I read was Sue Rainsford’s excellent Follow Me to Ground). It’s the second novel by Laura Mcveigh, who grew up in Northern Ireland and now lives in London and Mallorca.

In 2011, a boy named Izil watches a pilot fall from the sky to Libya’s Ubari Sand Sea. The man has lost his memory, but takes the name Goose and is reliant on Izil’s people to help him survive.

In 2012, we meet ten-year-old Lenny, who lives in Louisiana. His mother has left and his father is scarred from PTSD. He spends much of his time with old Miss Julie, who longs for her husband to return from the war in Korea; and Lucy, the town librarian. The town itself has suffered deprivation and is also threatened by a sinkhole. Lenny searches for something he can do to help.

It gradually becomes clear how these two timeframes are connected. What unfolds is then a poignant tale of loss, family and belonging. McVeigh creates a distinctive atmosphere in her novel, one where time itself might potentially be held back or twisted. I enjoyed spending time with Lenny – both the book and the characterisation.