As a young man, Tom Galvin travels from his home in rural Co. Kerry to London in order to join his successful older brother, M. J., a prosperous contractor. On the building sites of London, Tom comes of age – slips down dark alleyways with pretty girls, drinks pints in The Highway pub, wrestles with the corrupt practices of greedy contractors and foremen, and witnesses the tragic death of his best friend. Although M. J. promises Tom a lucrative career in his own business once he qualifies as an engineer, Tom abandons his engineering plans and enters the priesthood – a choice which doesn’t absolve him of the struggles of his youth, however. During his adulthood and late middle age, Tom struggles with the demands of celibacy, church politics and power dynamics, the self-inflicted death of his goddaughter, and the changing role of the church at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Although there are some hiccups in plot development – can a workaholic like Father Tom, who, by his own account, hasn’t so much as thought of looking at a woman in twenty years – fall in love with a young harpist over the course of a single paragraph? – this novel is worth reading for its (often quite funny) evocations of the London building sites of the 1960s, its sincerity, and its lyrical voice.Leaving Ardglass is available in Charlie Byrne's Bookshop for €6 - drop us a line to reserve a copy!Review by Megan Buckley.