Robert has a lot on his shoulders. His Mom struggles to make ends meet and provide food on the table for her boys. Robert has this to worry about and also his younger brother, who seems a bit bipolar and has trouble putting things in perspective. Xan (the brother) is obsessed with social justice and wants to right the wrongs of the world. Robert tries to give him perspective and keep it together. But as Xan gets sucked under the spell of a charismatic nihilist, Robert discovers that he is not so immune himself from the charms of anger. The results are explosive and nearly tragic.
Lynch's novel Inexcusable was a near miss for me, with its over-simplification of male violence and pendantic storyline. This, however, is another story. Lynch does a fantastic job of capturing fraternal bonds and the guilt and loyalty (or is it guilty loyalty?) that underlies the relationship between brothers that have faced adversity and not come through it as well as social norms dictate that they should. There's aching familiarity to this story, even if the violence is alien territory.
Seldom do I find books about young men that ring true (too many hang on the moments of libido for comic value) but this one really grew on me, even if the story was disturbing and a turn off. I give serious props to Lynch for presenting a story so authentic! It's not a pretty sight, but the love that these boys feel for each other will touch you.