A new town; a new school; a new nightmare
Jamie is thirteen years old, an only child. His mother has recently died. He and his father Sam have moved to Sam’s home town. A fresh start. A new job for Sam, a new school for Jamie. But one day Jamie comes from bearing scars of every parent’s nightmare. Something must be done.
So it begins.
Longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize
‘Brilliantly and sympathetically written, it will strike a cold fear into the heart of every parent’
‘Cross’s grimly readable novel settles into a parent’s nightmares and ties apprehensive knots in the reader’s stomach’
Excerpt from Always the Sun
Sam steered the dirty-white hire van to the nearside kerb and killed the engine.
It was the last week of June, two days before Jamie’s thirteenth birthday. For a while, they sat motionless and silent, listening to the slow tick of the engine. Then they exchanged a guarded, excited glance and raced each other to get out first.
The driver’s door was dented and obstinate; Sam forced it with his shoulder, but he was too late. Jamie was already waiting on the kerb. Sam ambled over to join him. He laid a hand on Jamie’s shoulder and together they looked at their new house.
A year after Nadya and I married, our first son was born.
I was besotted. I also fixated on his fragility — and on what the world would do to him, if the world were given half a chance. The ferocity of the joy I took in his birth, in the awesome fact of his existence, was attended by a kind of terror. It wasn’t a dignifying feeling.
I wanted to protect him beyond my ability to do so. I wanted to kill anyone who hurt him. I wanted someone to try hurting him in order that I could kill them.
I woke in the night choking on thoughts of sudden death; not because I feared it for myself, but because I couldn’t bear to think of leaving my wife and my son alone and unprotected. I secreted weapons throughout the house, began carrying them in street.
A few weeks after his first birthday we visited New Zealand, staying with Nadya’s family in Wellington. We spent a week in the Marlborough Sounds, then New Year’s Eve with friends in Auckland. When I opened my eyes on New Year’s day, a story flooded in like daylight. Read more
UK Publication Details
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
1st Edition Published: January 2004