One night, seventeen-year-old Wolf steals his mother's car and drives six hundred kilometers in search of his sister, who left home ten years ago. Unlicensed and on edge, he veers onto the wrong side of the road and causes an accident. He is arrested and incarcerated, forcing his mother and sister to reconnect and pick up the pieces in order to fight for his release.
Slim but full-blooded ... The profundity of Appanah’s tale, sensitively translated by Geoffrey Strachan, emerges from a puckish mix of the fairy tale...and the meta ... Free indirect discourse, in which seemingly omniscient narration slips slyly into a character’s limited perspective, colludes with self-assured direct address — “we must not forget…” — to insist that characters’ insights, like so many of our own, shouldn’t be relied on. All is shot through with a mournful lyricism ... As the family’s situation refuses to resolve easily, the book’s sincerity glows anew.