11 Emerald Street
Until the moment when his head gets hurt in the crush at a hurling match, Robbie leads an ordinary enough life for a young Dublin boy. Twenty-a-side soccer in the street, adventures with his dog Bobby, friends and uncles and priests, sins of the flesh and of the mind.
His injury changes everything. When he returns to consciousness, he believes that God has given him the power to perform miracles. At first Robbie contents himself with winning the spot-the-ball competition in the newspaper, but when he is sent to the orthopaedic hospital for 'observation' Robbie comes into his own. The other boys there are much sicker than he is - polio, thalidomide, haemophilia - but he swears to himself that he'll cure them all. Then tragedy strikes closer to home and Robbie needs all his powers, miraculous or perhaps just the fruits of a fertile imagination, to keep his world intact.
With a voice as real as Paddy Clarke's, Robbie is an enchanting character, and the world in which he lives, particularly the hospital with its heart-rending inmates and lascivious nurses, is brilliantly created.11 Emerald Streetmarks the debut of a formidable new Irish writer.