The town was once a hub of industry. A place where men toiled underground in darkness, picking and shovelling in the dust and the sleck. It was dangerous and back-breaking work but it meant something. Once, the town provided, it was important; it had purpose. But what is it now?
Brothers Alex and Brian have spent their whole life in the town where their father lived and his father, too. Now in his middle age and still reeling from the collapse of his personal life, Alex must reckon with a part of his identity he has long tried to conceal. His only child Simon has no memory of the mines. Now in his twenties and working in a call centre, he derives passion from his side hustle in sex work and his weekly drag gigs.
Set across three generations of South Yorkshire mining family, Andrew McMillan’s magnificent debut novel is a lament for a lost way of life as well as a celebration of resilience and the possibility for change.