I felt I was enveloped deep in the mind of this 13-year old. Along with the complex feelings of coping with his father's death are the social expectations that, as he approaches manhood, he will identify with his father. But then his father was never sure of his identity.
A deeply sensitive under-the-skin treatment of the themes of mixed ethnic origins.
'My mother once told me my father didn't really know where he was from,' I said. 'And I don't think he did. He used to go to his room and lay down for hours in the dark; I think he must have been thinking about where he was from when he did that. All he really knew was that he was part English and part African. And a little bit Irish too.'
'Nobody is part anything, Fitzgerald,' Roderick said. 'The sea is part salt but that doesn't stop it from being wholly the sea. Because a tree is part bark and part leaf is it any less a tree when its leaves fall off? No, it is still a tree. Is the sun any less the sun when part of it is hidden by a cloud?'