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'I'm 14 years old and I'm in trouble with just about everybody right now.' This is Luke Stanton, still grieving his father's death, unable to accept that his mother is entering a new relationship, experiencing the first traumas of adolescent sexuality and, worst of all, under regular assault from a gang of vicious bullies, led by the thuggish Skin. Luke has inherited his father's musical talent and his supersensitive response to sound, qualities which initially and paradoxically would seem to be leading him towards self-destruction. But Bowler's story gradually takes the boy into a series of encounters, particularly one with a little blind girl, where these same qualities will eventually become the agent of his salvation. This is an extremely ambitious novel, incorporating many themes of philosophical and metaphysical concern, abstractions which enrich what is already a powerful and wonderfully engrossing narrative. Highly recommended.