25 years after leaving, our narrator – a celebrated writer – is called back to his school for a reunion. This could be an invite to ignore, but for the fact that Thomas knows this event could change his life because of something that happened years earlier.
The story is told in a rather chaotic fashion, jumping from time and narrative focus, but this actually allows us to pick up (albeit unwittingly) all manner of details to help piece together what may or may not have happened.
At its heart this is a story of flawed characters doing pretty awful things and trying to do just enough to survive. Not all of them do.
Without giving too much away, the narrative focuses on the beautiful Vinca, the girl Thomas adored at school. She disappeared one night and rumours have circulated since. Many believe Vinca ran away with one of her professors, but certain characters know this not to be the case because of their actions on that night.
Thomas spends the novel with the ground shifting underneath him as he expects to be charged with murder at any moment. What we come to realise is there’s bigger game-players than Thomas who, from the off, have been firmly in charge of proceedings and taking whatever steps are necessary to protect their children.
I ended this still not entirely sure of what happened on that night (and the vagueness is deliberate), but recognising the strength of some of those caught up in circumstances beyond their control.