‘This is a history shaken by intimacy – a brave and rigorously humane book’ SeÃ¡n Hewitt
How far would you go for the missing?
When Clair Wills was in her twenties, she discovered she had a cousin she had never met. Born in a Mother and Baby Home in 1950s Ireland, Mary grew up in an institution not far from the farm where Clair spent happy childhood summers. Yet she was never told of her existence.
How could a whole family – a whole country – abandon unmarried mothers and their children, erasing them from history?
To discover the missing pieces of her family’s story, Clair searched across archives and nations, in a journey that would take her from the 1890s to the 1980s, from West Cork to rural Suffolk and Massachusetts, from absent fathers to the grief of a lost child.
There are some experiences that do not want to be remembered. What began as an effort to piece together the facts became an act of decoding the most unreliable of evidence – stories, secrets, silences. The result is a moving, exquisitely told story of the secrets families keep, and the violence carried out in their name.