Author: Patrick McGrath
Published May 2021
'Let there be no more of this clucking and wheedling. Oh Pa, are you sure? Or: Oh Francis, is this really a good idea? Let me be clear. I am always sure, and it is always a good idea.'An old man is sleeping fitfully.
It's too hot. The air is thick with Spanish Jasmine floating in from his overgrown garden. And he's not sure whether he'll be woken by General Franco sitting on the end of his bed.
It's 1975 and Francis McNulty is nearing the end of his life but feeling far from peaceful. A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, he is tormented by grief and guilt about a brief, terrible act of betrayal from that time; and he's started seeing his old nemesis on the street, in the garden and now in his bedroom. Neither he nor his daughter Gillian, who lives with him in Cleaver square, know what to do.
When Gillian announces her impending marriage to a senior civil servant, Francis realises that he must adapt to new circumstances - and that the time has come to confront his past once and for all.