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June 04 , 2010

Making Nice


A gut-punch of a debut about love and loss, and fighting for – and with – the only family you’ve got.

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The Hell Screen

After a posting to the northern provinces, Akitada hurries to the deathbed of his mother in the capital. On the road, he spends the night in a monastery where he sees a painted hell screen.The realistic depictions of tortured men, women, and children haunt his dreams until he wakes to a scream.At home, he finds his mother…

Alby’s flailing wildly against the world around him. He punches his sister (she deserved it), gets drunk and picks fights (all deserved), defends defenceless creatures large and small, and spews insults at children, slow drivers, old ladies and every single surviving member of his family.

With electrifying honesty and sly tenderness, Alby distills the anguish, the terror, the humour, and the strange grace he experiences in the aftermath of his mother’s death. But as he drinks, screws, and jokes his way through his pain and heartache, both his anger and his kindness bubble up when he, and we, least expect it.

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