Bobby’s mother says she’s moving them to Clare for the summer to keep him out of trouble; in Dublin, he’s a bit prone to stealing cars, iPods, and purses with a small gang of older boys. She’s also taking them off to Clare to keep herself away from the moneylenders. Bobby doesn’t want to be in Clare, with the locals telling them about fairies, disappearances, and murders in the cottage where they’re living.
It’s a much darker book than Kate Thompson’s two earlier ones, though equally suffused with Irishness and just as well-written. Fairies appear mostly in the stories Bobby’s told—though his four-year-old brother keeps talking about a little woman who comes in at night for milk and chocolate—this one isn’t a fairy story, it’s a haunting portrait of a dysfunctional family trapped in their destructive patterns. Bobby’s mother is at least as messed-up as he is and their issues clearly play off each other’s. Bobby is struggling so hard against the misery and boredom of his life, but he’s barely able to see a way out that doesn’t involve substance abuse. And all while he’s struggling to get his footing and figure things out, strange noises and discoveries in the cottage throw him even more off-balance.
It’s short and powerful, with a blend of harsh realism and hope that makes it difficult but not overwhelming to read.