There was a new beginning. He felt it everywhere, in the sweep of change, in the simple pronouncement of 'Yes we can!" It's 2008 and Norman Price - a moderately successful forty-something playwright living in Chicago - considers the shuddering impact of the financial crash. What's needed, he thinks, is the will for a new existence. When his parents die, one shortly after the other, The New Existence becomes Norman's mantra as he tries to recalibrate his own shaken world. Into Norman's tentative re-building, a couple of bombshells are dropped. His parents' old house has to go on the market, forcing him to revisit the past. And then he receives a mysterious email from a man he has never met but whose name is instantly, painfully, familiar. Norman's new existence is suddenly threatened by past secrets. Michael Collins takes post 9/11 America as the background for a deeply moving novel about complex identities and the fragility of humanity.
The prose carries the momentum of the novel. It is driven, virtuoso. The pace counterbalances the weight of the prose ... a formidable, demanding achievement.