When Nicholas’s grandfather comes to stay, he has just left prison and he is suffering from dementia. Added to this, the family home is up for sale and Nicholas is determined to save it and the tree that commemorates his dead brother. Can he find the family heirlooms that his grandfather buried, or are they just a figment of a rather uncertain imagination.
This is a really complex book that takes a bit of getting in to, but when it grabs you, it won’t let go. The hero is weird, even by his own description. He is fascinated by maths and music and often sees things in terms of prime numbers or musical descriptions. However he is a very strong character and absolutely central to the plot. He teams up with two other boys from his school, both of whom have issues, so we end up with a very unusual and quirky group.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable things in the text is the addition of musical terms at different points of the action; so we have ‘forte’ or ‘pianissimo’ to describe the feelings and the feel of the situations on the page. This is a book with several intertwining stories, some starting in the past and others definitely set in the here and now. The author brings them together and leads us through some disturbing moments until we reach the finale. Above all this is a book about family and the different forms this can take. It is also about accepting people for who they really are rather than an idealized view and it is also about knowing when to let go.
This story really surprised me by the way it has stayed in my mind, it is a very strong plot. Definitely something that repays effort when reading it.