Kenny is AWOL on a protracted binge. Michael is a wanderer on the road to wild and unfrequented places. Teenager Matt is sucked into the murky underworld of a lawless estate. John is a recluse, Skinner is missing, Guy is hiding, Ryan doesn’t call.
Then there is little Mikey, swept away by a river in spate.
These are the lost boys and this is their story, told through the lives of the women they leave behind. Mikey's fall into the river sucks them all into the maelstrom of his fate; the waiting women, the boys lost beyond saving and the ones who find their way home.
Lost Boys uses some disturbing, contemporary phenomena; an unprecedented drought, a catastrophic flash-flood, a riot, as well as the much more enduring context of a mother’s love for her son, to explore the ripples – and tsunamis – which one person’s crisis can send into another’s.
The stories are available individually under the titles Biscuits and Wee, The Other Boy, Stack of One and Loose Ends, or in this single volume, collectively entitled Lost Boys.
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She is thinking about Michael, letting images of him pass before her inner eye like a series of slides on a screen. The soft peachy beauty of his baby skin; his funny single-toothed smile as he sat for the first time unaided on the patchwork quilt; the intensity of his eyes; his gossamer hair. His smartness in his school uniform on the day of his father’s funeral, and the feel of his little hand holding tightly on to hers as they followed the coffin down to the graveside. His frown of concentration and the physical effort as he wrestled with his first accordion, as though it was some unwieldy prehistoric reptile writhing and wriggling in his inadequate arms. And then, as a teenager, his hair growing long and unkempt; his preference for shabby, frayed clothes; the strange, sweet, herby smell about him which she was not able to place until years later as the smell of marihuana. His increasing propensity to go off for days, to ‘gigs’ and festivals, with his accordion and insufficient clean underwear. His announcement that he would ‘busk’ his way round Europe, and watching him go, with his long-legged loping stride, off down the cobbles of the street, a bulging back-pack over one shoulder and his accordion over the other, his single wave at the corner and a sudden inner sinking feeling as though her heart had slipped out of her chest and landed with a soft, wet plop at her feet.