Snugville Street – off Belfast’s Shankill Road – is the setting for this exploration of history, family and identity in post-conflict Northern Ireland. Teenager Hannah is angry because her father’s return from prison coincides with the arrival of her French exchange, Etienne. Her family has more ghosts than most to deal with – the death of Hannah’s brother, Robert; her sister Shelley’s loss of a foot in the Shankill bomb; and her father’s sentence for killing a man in revenge. However, Etienne’s stay in Snugville Street allows the family see themselves and their city though a stranger’s eyes and hence reassess the past and the future. Some of the novel’s themes – in particular, the prevalence of mental health issues in post-Troubles Northern Ireland – could have been more fully developed, but this is an enjoyable coming-of-age tale with a Belfast twist.
Author: Angeline King
Guideline Price: £10