March Books 18) A Different Kingdom, by Paul Kearney
This is a brilliant, erotic, somewhat mystical novel, about a teenage boy in County Antrim in the 1950s who finds himself crossing into the Different Kingdom of the title and finding his faerie lover while looking for his lost relative (and then reminiscing about it in exile in London, years later). Kearney's images of the Northern Irish countryside are perfect ("clouds of midges floating like gauze in the air"). His construction of the fantasy otherwhere has the energy of total conviction. I'm surprised that this novel isn't better known - it addresses (sometimes a little cryptically) all the problems of identity with which we from Northern Ireland are all too familiar; and if it is a little naïve in places, it is none the less heartfelt.