This is a story of Ireland past and present. In Dublin 2001, Charlie and his wife Alison are about to start a family. They are a successful couple, with good jobs and a luxurious new home, but are unsure of what the future might bring. The birth of their child starts Charlie thinking about his family's past and sets him on a journey to discover the father he never knew.
In 1926, Ireland is still reeling in the aftermath of its bloody civil war. Shortly after the birth of her first baby, Marie-Rose O'Brien and her husband Cormac witness Lindbergh's first ever solo-flight across the Atlantic as he crosses over the south-west tip of the island. In a country looking towards the future, Marie Rose is determined that her son will live a life full of such adventure.
Colm Cantwell's life is in a sorry state. His wife won't sleep with him, despite all his efforts at persuasion. His stepdaughter hates him with a quite terrifying passion. His once grand literary ambitions founder in the shallows of bitty journalism and tatty gossip columns. Into his life totters Sally, a character close to the edge, and Colm spies an opportunity for change.
But Colm is a prisoner of Dublin, a place where talk is an addiction and word of mouth is still a weapon. Accustomed to being the spider spinning webs of gossip, Colm eventually finds himself the fly.
Arlene - 'actually it's Ar-lay-na' - Morrissey is a very successful theatrical agent. She has several phones and a flat decked out in expensive pale pinks and greys. She wears DKNY and doesn't take bullshit. It has taken a long time to construct this persona, and a surprisingly short time for it to fall apart. A visit from a lonely, vulnerable young writer with her bad play touches a part of Arlene she'd thought long buried, and sets in motion a series of events over which for once she has no control.
You would be surprised what goes on in young girls' heads... A modern Cinderella who finds her fairy godmother in the realms of cosmetic surgery; a girl who loves to dance, but becomes a victim of her sexuality; suburban estates where teenagers make midnight forays to the park to do bizarre things on roller skates - In these stories, Katy Hayes takes the reader by the hand and charts a series of rites of passage. Sometimes shocking, and occasionally hilarious, they present an entirely new picture of Dublin life.