Family divide

30th October 1998 at 00:00
DARK SHADOWS. By Joan Lingard. Hamish Hamilton Pounds 10.99.

When you move into the sun, shadows shorten," says Jess at the end of this intelligent and moving new novel, set in Belfast. The author is well-known for her Kevin and Sadie books, which also deal with the pressures teenagers feel, living in a divided community.

In this book, Jess, a Catholic, meets her Protestant cousin Laurie for the first time. The two branches of the family haven't spoken since Jess's father married a Catholic, Maeve O'Shea. A shared interest in music brings the girls together, and with Neal, Jess's cousin, they decide to enter a song-writing competition.

This is the simple framework Joan Lingard uses to tell a more complicated story which involves lies, bombing, kneecapping, joy-riding, bullying, playing truant and many combinations of discord, love and friendship.

The end is full of hope, with the families going together to listen to their children's music, but it comes after a near-tragedy.

Lingard grew up in Belfast and you can hear the accent in the dialogue. You also learn words like "mitching" for playing truant. For someone with such an economical, plain style, however, the author is somewhat over-generous with her exclamation marks, but this is nit-picking.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now