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From the publisher
Set in rural Ireland, John McGahern's second novel is about adolescence and a guilty, yet uncontrollable sexuality that is contorted and twisted by both puritanical state religion and a strange, powerful and ambiguous relationship between son and widower father. Against a background evoked with quiet, undemonstrative mastery, McGahern explores with precision and tenderness a human situation, superficially very ordinary, but inwardly an agony of longing and despair.