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New fiction: The Trouble With Goats and Sheep

This debut from Joanna Cannon has got Eithne Farry hooked

by Psychologies

The heat shimmers off the page in Cannon’s blisteringly good debut as the inhabitants of an ordinary avenue cope with the sweltering temperatures of the summer of ’76, and with an emotionally combustible atmosphere fuelled by long-kept secrets, fierce enmities and the repressed rage that is hidden away under the veneer of respectability.

At the heart of the story are Grace and Tilly, 10-year-old best friends preoccupied with the disappearance of Mrs Creasy (the febrile catalyst for the local community’s unease), while also investigating the existence of God, analysing their sense of belonging and learning how appearances can often be entirely misleading.

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon (The Borough Press, £12.99)