When children begin falling sick in a rural community, a multitude of conflicts are scratched wide-open. Told largely through the eyes of 11 year old Hannah, this entertaining and empathetic read pulls you in many directions: from the sadness and horror of illness to the rich humour of early Nineties pop culture. A ghost story, a study of the end of childhood, and an examination of faith in Northern Ireland, this is a vivid and exhilarating read.
William is the seventh Ballylack child to die. Seven dead weans is enough to instigate a press stampede. There are swathes of journalists camped out all over the village now. They're in Henderson's, demanding pub-grub at all hours of the day. They're double-parked everywhere. They're complaining about the provincial accents, which don't come across well on TV. They joke about sticking the subtitles on. They're torturing the poor girls in Thompson's shop, wanting takeaway cappuccinos and herbal tea, when all they have's a electric kettle and a catering-sized jar of Nescafe.