Love My Enemy
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'There's been peace for years now... well, a sort of peace.' The setting is contemporary Belfast and the speaker is 15-year-old Zee Proctor, explaining how the political situation in Northern Ireland has recently been changing. But, as this novel painfully and candidly reminds us, the past lives on in people's memories. Two years previously, Zee's policeman father had been shot by terrorists in full view of his family, an event which has, in different ways, left its scars on his widow, on Zee and, most of all, on her older brother Gary. The hurt of his father's murder has engendered violent anti-Catholic feelings in the boy, feelings which grow dangerously out of control when Zee falls in love with Conor, a Catholic neighbour. Some stereotyping apart, MacLachlan adeptly evokes the prejudices, fears, lies and deceptions of a society still dominated by open wounds and raw emotions. While the ending of the novel will, for some readers, be over optimistic, few will want to resist its implicit note of hope.