John Boyne


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Transworld Publishers Ltd
2 November 2023
ISBN: 9780857529817
176 pages

From the publisher

'Subtle, intelligent and humane' The Sunday Telegraph
'A perceptive, moving exploration of guilt, grief and complicity' The Sunday Express
'Boyne does not put a foot wrong in this masterly novella' The Mail on Sunday
'One of the most assured novelists of his generation' Observer

From million-copy-bestselling author John Boyne comes a masterfully reflective story about one woman coming to terms with the demons of her past and finding a new path forward.

The first thing Vanessa Carvin does when she arrives on the island is change her name. To the locals, she is Willow Hale, a solitary outsider escaping Dublin to live a hermetic existence in a small cottage, not a notorious woman on the run from her past.

But scandals follow like hunting dogs. And she has some questions of her own to answer. If her ex-husband is really the monster everyone says he is, then how complicit was she in his crimes?

Escaping her old life might seem like a good idea but the choices she has made throughout her marriage have consequences. Here, on the island, Vanessa must reflect on what she did - and did not do. Only then can she discover whether she is worthy of finding peace at all.

Can you ever truly wash away your past?

What readers are saying:

'Powerful, challenging and beautifully written'
'Compelling, propulsive, and completely immersive'
'Written with the same emotional intensity and thought provoking honesty as his longer works'
'Packs a hard hitting punch with its depth of emotional understanding of what it is to be human'
'What an astoundingly brilliant piece of writing this is . . . by its end you feel as though you have read something much more epic in length'