The various meanderings, false starts, mistakes and retraced footsteps of the journey that Joe, Kenny and Sim embark upon as a mark of respect and remembrance for friend Ross, nimbly echo the paths that grief and bereavement follow. Devoted to the memory of their friend and keen to assuage the levels of uncertainty each of them has, the three kidnap Ross’ ashes with the intention of travelling to Scotland and scattering them in Ross.
The everyday and the extraordinary converge on a highly poignant journey drawing upon memories, stories and our relationship with ourselves and with others. Each truth that is slowly revealed about Ross’ death strikes a sickening blow to the solar plexus and has considerable force and impact. There is an aching sense of desolation and of void surrounding his untimely death, but the real achievement here is that this is juxtaposed with a warmth, a humour and a zest for life that makes Ostrich Boys a life-affirming and uplifting treaty on the potential and possibility of youth.
The stark statistic that suicide is the most common form of death in men under thirty-five is omnipresent, but is countered most beautifully by the development, enrichment and understanding that concludes the book. An exceptionally involving and affecting novel.