It is not the early incident with Mr Golan that establishes the relationship between Elly and Joe, the uncompromising and unabashed walls of their playing grounds are bound by bigger things. Things for brothers and sisters of this world.
I got love for my brother, sure. And those moments of loathing are totally natural, fleeting...minor even! But I am instantly envious of the bond between this two. Such closeness is rare, not unheard of but something beautiful and protected.
I love Joe's 3 am phone calls, knowing glances, the 'Sharon Stone' placard, shared expressions, shared secrets, friendships and that unconditional knowing. Elly is exposed to a world beyond her years, one that never seems to welcome her, but it is Joe who, with the gift of God the rabbit and Jenny penny, encourages and excites her potential.
Their life is littered with bizarre episodes which conflict with the beautiful landscapes and the natural world that surrounds their Cornish haven.This novel is as much about the rise and fall as it is the lost and found.
If you are not moved by the scene of events then Winman's budding characters are sure to rouse a smile. Nancy is a rough cut diamond who we see just enough of, her performance is winning because her role as Aunt is genuinely, haphazardly brilliant. In many ways she is more inspiring than Elly's parents.
Elly's best friend Jenny is the wild card, drawing us events beyond chance and understanding. Just as I find her eerie I imagine her bouffant hair and grazed knees and see that she is a child, even in adulthood. She is unfairly forced through her years falling victim to heavy, heartless hands. Ever the optimist though, it is Jenny who fossilizes a magical friendship which is completely and selflessly mirrored by Elly:
"I let her have her moment. That uninterrupted moment when she could dream and believe that all I had was hers"
A debut that looks at relationships; encounters (momentary, exhausted, elaborate) and then those that you just can't possibly be without. Right up my street, Winman has my vote.