'For the first time since he'd left the island he thought of the starlings massed at dusk in the winter trees behind the children's home. He remembered the rustle of their wings when they twisted in skeins over the fields, or swelled and contracted high above the cliffs, dark wave after dark wave, lifting and falling in a kind of dance. Sister Lucy had said it was a murmuration. He was still quite young, and he had thought the birds were showing him a sign, that there was something written in their fluid patterns. Lives merge and diverge; they soar and plunge, or come to rest in impenetrable silence. Erris Cleary's absence haunts the pages of this exquisite novella, a woman who complicates other lives yet confers unexpected blessings. Fly far, be free, urges Erris. Who can know why she smashes mirrors? Who can say why she does not heed her own advice? Among the sudden shifts and swings, the swerving flight paths taken, something hidden must be uncovered, something dark and rotten, even evil, which has masqueraded as normality. In the end it will be a writer's task to reclaim Erris, to bear witness, to sound in fiction the one true note that will crack the silence. (Publication summary)'