The world is hushed, cloaked in snow. Transport has ground to a halt, flights cancelled and roads treacherous. Yet Tom must venture out into this transformed landscape to collect his son Luke, sick and stranded in his student lodgings. During this solitary journey from Belfast to Sunderland by car and boat, Tom reflects on his life: the beloved wife he leaves behind, labouring to create the perfect Christmas and mend their family’s cracks with seasonal cheer; the son he is driving towards, yet struggles to connect with; the countless small disappointments of his photography career; and the absence that is always there as a voice in his head – his other son, Daniel.
In prose both lyrical and effortless, David Park vividly presents us with the inner life of a man grappling with existence’s challenges: the memories that haunt us, the secrets that divide us, and the bonds that strengthen us. Meditating on marriage, masculinity, parenthood and ambition, this novel encapsulates, with its exquisitely nuanced, precisely delineated depiction of human experience, the unsolved mystery at the heart of our lives.