IN THE FOREST

Edna O’Brien

In the Forest returns to the countryside of western Ireland, the vivid backdrop of Edna O’Brien’s best-selling Wild Decembers. Here O’Brien unravels a classic confrontation of evil and innocence centering on the young, troubled Michael O’Kane, christened by his neighbors “the Kindershrek,” someone of whom small children are afraid. O’Kane loses his mother as a boy and by age ten is incarcerated in a juvenile detention center, an experience that leaves him scarred from abuse and worse, with the killing instinct buried within. A story based on actual events, In the Forest proceeds in a rush of hair-raising episodes and asks what will become of O’Kane’s unwitting victims — a radiant young woman, her little son, and a devout and trusting priest.
Riveting, frightening, and brilliantly told, this intimate portrayal of both perpetrator and victims reminds us that anything can happen “outside the boundary of mother and child.”

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