It began innocently. It destroyed innocence forever.
When a twelve-year-old boy writes an essay and inadvertently uncovers a wartime secret, he unleashes a chain of events which rips a close community apart, turning neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend.
It is Auckland, 1956. While the country has been spared the destruction which ravaged Europe and Asia, beneath the surface bitter memories and old enmities run deep. The war may be over but, as the boy discovers, it is far from done with.
In a poignant and gripping tale of events which challenge and define a post-war community, master storyteller Derek Hansen superbly captures the spirit of inner city life in the mid-fifties, when migrants and war survivors came to a land of peace and the promise of a new life -- only to have it challenged in unexpected and life-changing ways.
Derek Hansen has an uncanny knack for bringing back the substance and subtleties of the times and places about which he writes. In this instance, having been raised in Auckland in the 1950s, his eye is unerring.