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The setting is Belfast in the 1970s. In a city in which any storefront might unexpectedly explode, Marius Moonston, age 16, is out shopping. It’s Saturday, and the streets are filled with danger and excitement—especially for Marius, whose pocket is burning with the money he has pilfered from his sister.

Marius has a mission (he knows just what he wants to spend that money on), and a conscience steeped in the dichotomies of the Evangelical church. Ricocheting through the story is the nature of deceit and truth, commerce, disobedience and sin. The consequences of a petty crime are enormous—cathartic and destructive and defining.

McGrady uses language of a distinctly Irish elasticity, and the explosive hilarity of a teenage boy propels the novel to crystalline moments of observation, and shattering self-knowledge.

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