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She is new to the village; Kevern has lived here, in half-hiding, all his life. They feel a surge of protectiveness for each other the moment they meet. On their first date, Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn’t ask who did it. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren’t sure whether they have fallen in love of their own accord or whether they’ve been pushed into each other’s arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?
Nothing in this extraordinary new novel by Howard Jacobson is certain. Time lurches, what passes for memory might not have happened, accidents might not after all be accidental, history itself has been disowned. If this is the consequence of removing your enemies (and disturbing the necessary equilibrium of hate), could it be time to reinvent them? Into these sinister calculations first Ailinn and then Kevern are drawn …