Two Souls (Henry McDonald)

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'Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast, and each will wrestle for the mastery there.' Faust / Goethe

Robbie McManus is tortured. His psychopathic comrade 'Padre Pio' McCann is never far from wreaking havoc, his punk cousin 'Rex Mundi' has arrived from England and is getting in the way, his father is imploring him to finish his A-levels and get the hell out of Belfast - and then there's Sabine, the mysterious loner in The Pound who shimmers, trancelike, on the dancefloor to the opening track of David Bowie's Low. Her hair dyed jet black in a Cleopatra cut, she is a moving hieroglyphics that Robbie is desperate to decipher.

From the summer of 1978 to a frenzied Irish Cup Final day nine months later, and, through a series of smuggled 'prison comms', to the paramilitary-stalked Belfast streets of the late '80s, all threads collide in a tense, thrilling denouement. At turns shocking and heart-breaking, Two Souls is a deeply affecting novel that crackles and enthrals, tragically exposing human nature's futile efforts to make the right decisions and to choose a life worth living.