Book Review – Home Stretch – Graham Norton

Graham Norton’s powerful and timely novel of exile and return home reveals his keen understanding of the power of stigma and secrecy, with shattering results.

Shame and longing can drift through generations, but the mysteries of the heart will not be buried for all time.

It is 1987, and a small Irish community is arranging a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, along with the bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three live, but three are killed.

The lives of the families are devastated and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the enraged and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the guilt of being the driver. He leaves the only place he’s ever known for another life, taking his guilt with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home, of sorts, for himself in New York. The city gives refuge and hope for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and build a new life.

But the past, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be stifled. And before long, Connor will have to face his past.

“A compelling and moving story, expertly told, that will draw you in and keep you in its grip until the last page.” – The Daily Express

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