Foran tells the story of the McNally family of Belfast, whom the author met in 1979 and lived with on and off over the next twenty years, and in telling their story, tells the story of Northern Ireland. Compassionate, funny and frightening, it's a hell of a book. Foran was a 19 year-old student in Dublin when he first visited the family with a school friend. Fascinated, in an arrogantly innocent sort of way by the horror of check points, murders, bombings and all the violence of Belfast during the "Troubles", the authors initial voyeurism soon give way to profound concern and love for the family. The daily life of the family, their struggles to maintain their standards of care for each other, of hospitality, of humor and strength are beautifully detailed. And it is to Foran's credit that he offers no simple answers save those contained in one human being's love for another. This is a poignant account of the connections between people, of the power of place and history, and of courage and pride. It is the story of Ireland, and the story of a single, unforgettable family. Worth reading more than once, it's so good.