by Stephen Baker - £8.99 Atlantic Books (2012)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781848872219 | ISBN 10: 1848872216
Moving from the gas-flares of Teesside, to marine adventures in the South Atlantic, Hemispheres is a salutary and searing debut novel for anyone who enjoyed Kes and The Northern Clemency.
Growing up in a family of pub landlords, Danny spends his youth in Thatcher's Britain in the company of angry, disaffected men. His father, Yan, has not returned from the Falklands War, and Danny and his mother have no idea whether he is dead or has deserted. But Yan is very much alive: half a world away, on another rugged coast, a drunken game of poker sets him and a rag-tag band of deserters off on a punishing journey across the southern hemisphere.
Years later, Yan returns - whip-thin, weathered, and, he maintains, dying of cancer. For all his conflicted emotions, Danny is unable to walk away from the answers Yan can give him, from a last chance to understand his father and to say a final goodbye. Yan relates his story of migration in the patterned language of their shared passion for birding; the whirling of gulls and guillemots, ravens and herons, nightjars and lapwings...
Hemispheres is a gloriously ambitious debut novel of family, destiny, nature and coming home.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2019)