Cal McClusckey is a 19 year old boy who lives with his father
between Ulster and the Irish republic. Cal and his father are
catholics. In the beginning, after Cal has left school, his
father gets him a job in the abattoir.
Unfortunately Cal has a very weak stomach and he isn't able to
handle the job, so he quits. In his job he is replaced by
Crilly, and old friend of Cal, who is also Catholic. Cal is
very bored when he is unemployed, but too lazy to look for a
His friend Crilly, who is a member of the I.R.A. (= Irish
Republican Army), persuades Cal to help the I.R.A. against the
Cal must drive a van which Crilly and his friends use to
suprise shops that belong to the Protestants.
The second time Cal has to drive, Crilly and his mates attack
a policeman, Robert Morton (who is a Protestant). Robert get's
killed in front of his own doorstep. Cal feels very accessory.
He didn't think his friends would really be able to kill
But the next time they ask Cal to drive to van for the I.R.A.,
he hasn't got the guts to say 'no'. He is too frightenend that
they will kill him if he says so.
Cal knows the protestants have found out who killed Robert
Morton, and that they want to take revenge. Cals father gets
threathning letters which say :" We shall burn your house down
if you won't leave immediately."
Cal pretends, to reassure his father, that he isn't affraid of
the letters, but deep down he knows he and his father must
leave like the wind.
In the mean-time Cal finds out that Marcella, the library
woman, who Cal finds very attractive, is the wife of Robert
Morton. The more Cal sees her, the more he likes her, to
quiltier he feels being an accomplice in the murder.
Meanwhile Cal's father pushes Cal to get a new job. He finds
this job with two older Protestant people. He works on their
farm. After a while Cal finds out that Marcella is also living
on the farm and that the older couple are Marcella's in-laws.
One day, Cal's house is indeed set on fire and he and his
father have nowhere to live. All their belongings were taken
by the flames. Cal, who want's to flee from Grilly and the
protestants finds a deserted cottage to live in (without
telling anyone). This cottage is behind the farm where he
works, very close to Marcella.
Then the Morton's find out about Cal living there but they
give him permission to stay in the cottage.
In the cottage Cal is free from Crilly and the protestants,
his only obstacle is Marcella. He gets very close to her, and
they fall in love. Call helps Marcella to get over her depres-
sion from Robert's murder.
Marcella really trusts him. This is a big problemm for Cal; he
wants to be completely honest with her, because he loves her.
But he can't, there is a big knife stuck in his ribbes, that
reminds him of the bad deed he had done.
Cal and Marcella are much together these days and when mr. and
mrs. Morton leave for a couple of days, they make love.
Meanwhile Cal's father, who hasn't seen his son for a long
time, has turned into and old sick man. Without the memories,
his whole life fades away. After Cal visits his father, he
goes to the library and finds Crilly putting a bomb in one of
the books. Cal has to go with him. When they are at Crilly's
house they see the cops coming and they try to leave the house
and Cal gets the oppertunity to flee.
That night Cal makes love to Marcella. In the morning he
writes a letter to her. He tells her his true feelings and
that he was an accomplice in the killing of Robert. After a
couple of hours Cal is caught by the police. Cal is releafed,
he finally has been caught so he can start again with a clear
How civil-war can be an obstacle between love and political
ideas. The civil-war in this book is based on the past. The
people of Northern Ireland, blinded by religion and political
conflicts, have never been able to forget the past.
Cal is a boy who isn't one of these persons. He has got an own
opinion, but that isn't black or white.
He is against violence and hopes for peace. In spite of this
he gets involved in a crime. Cal's feeling for guilt is so
strong that a growing desire to be punished takes hold of him.
That's the reason why he is glad he is caught by the police at
the end of the book.
When in civil-war, people loose all there bounds, and commit
things to would have never done. It can also be a boundrary
between two people with different religions.
Cal ; 19 years old, Catholic, and reazed by his father, becau-
se his mother died when Cal was still young.
He misses his mother very much. These isn't a day that is
passed without thinking of his mother.
Cal is basically a good man; he is against violince, and
doesn't think religions should be a barrier between people.
Cal is very weak; he hasn't got the guts to tell the truth to
Marcella and doens't dare to say 'no'.
Marcella ; Catholic, and married a protestant, Robert Morton.
They didn't have a good marriage, but her grief is great when
Robert is killed.
She works in a library and has a little daughter. Like Cal,
she want's to live in peace.
She really likes Cal allthough he is a lot younger.
Bernard MacLaverty was geboren in Belfast (14.9.42) en leefde daar tot 1975 toen hij zich aan Schotland met zijn vrouw, Madeline, en vier kinderen bewoog. Hij is een Medische Technicus van het Laboratorium, een rijpe student, een leraar van het Engels en, twee jaar in het midden van de jaren '80, schrijver-in-Woonplaats bij de Universiteit van Aberdeen geweest. Na het leven voor een tijd in Edinburgh en het Eiland van Islay leeft hij nu in Glasgow. Hij is een lid van Aosdana in Ierland en bezoekt Schrijver/Professor bij de Universiteit van Strathclyde. Momenteel is hij tewerkgesteld als leraar van het creatieve schrijven op een postuniversitaire cursus in prozafictie die door het Onderzoekinstituut van van Ierse en Schotse Studies bij de Universiteit van Aberdeen in werking wordt gesteld. Hij heeft vijf inzamelingen van novelles en vier romans gepubliceerd. Hij heeft versies van zijn fictie voor andere media - hoorspels, televisiespelen, scenario's geschreven. Onlangs schreef hij en leidde een korte film ' Bey-Child'
- Bernard MacLaverty
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