November 1979, the height of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Kathleen Moran’s son Sean has just been transferred to the hypersecure H-block in Belfast’s notorious Maze prison, where he soon emerges as a young but important force in the extreme protest that political prisoners are staging there. John Dunn is also newly arrived at the prison, having taken on the job of guarda brutal but effective way to support a house and a girlfriend.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, no one’s dreams go untroubled. As rumors of a hunger strike begin to circulate, Louise Dean’s pitch-perfect novel places two parents, two sons, and two enemies on a collision course that ends in a surprising and deeply resonant climax.
Louise Dean s pitch-perfect second novel, This Human Season, recreates the time of the Troubles. But she doesn t simply work factual details into a gripping story; given such powerful raw material, many competent novelists could do that. Instead, Dean dexterously highlights the telling advantage that fiction has over journalism and history, portraying the inner realm of thoughts and feelings. With remarkable even-handedness, she evokes the day-to-day struggles of English and Irish, Protestant and Roman Catholic, as they try to get on with their lives while the world around them goes insane.