REVIEWED BY VICK BOUGHTON
In her remarkable second novel, Dean takes on Northern Ireland's most recent period of "Troubles." As 1979 draws to a close, Kathleen Moran is trying to keep her family out of harm's way: Her younger son aims to be like his 19-year-old brother, an IRA member in the Maze prison outside Belfast. John Dunn, a new guard there, wrestles with family issues and wonders whether his highly paid job is worth the risk. Dean's great achievement is showing us how ordinary people can go on with their lives in the midst of extraordinary brutality—and how a few are able to do so with compassion and hope.