This is a poignant and very intimate narrative of loving sister Emily and musical talented brother Joe when he gets cancer, and the impact it has on the family. Interspersed with it is the story of their grandfather, homosexual Edward and his wife Eleanor in the fifties. A story of death, love, music and survival. It affected me to the point where I had difficulty reading any further.
Aeroplanes leaving for other places and I could have turned round and got on one of them and missed your last almost-year, skeleton trees into summer and the world bringing out its best, my ears suddenly awake to the heartbeats of mice and the vibration of seeds beneath the ground, going with you for chemo and laughing with you on the ward until the pain swelled your arm too much to slide your sleeve over it and I had to drape your coat across your back. I could have missed it all. Your hands on the sheets like birds. Blueberries spilling across the floor like the sloes found in the stomach of a mummified Chalcolithic man.
Joe has cancer.
I had landed in the wrong country. A close country, but one I did not know. I got in the car.