Are you ready for Philo? The nuns at the convent of the Good Shepherd in Dublin's North Wall certainly aren't. But on a quiet Sunday evening, they find their peace shattered by an insistent knocking on the heavy front door - and there she is. 'I feel like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music,' she says. 'I've nowhere else to go.' Weighing in at 240 pounds and covered in tattoos, Philo doesn't look much like Julie Andrews. And with her penchant for smoking, swearing and eating, she's hardly an ideal candidate for the sisterhood. But Philo is desperate. She's on the run from her husband, Tommo, and she needs refuge. The good sisters at the convent of the Good Shepherd take her under their wings, and before long, she finds a new self-confidence, and a new role at the centre of the beleaguered community. With a heart as big as her waistband, there's plenty of love to go round, but Philo knows that, sooner or later, she will need to face up to the cracks in her own life, her wayward husband and son, and the dark secret she's been running from for as long as she can remember.
At the core of Peter Sheridan's warm-hearted and poignant novel is the once-thriving docks community where he grew up. Now in terminal decline, his story is a celebration of the people who once lived there, and a protest at the official neglect that led to its demise. Read an interview with Peter Sheridan...Peter Sheridan, talks to Nicki Howard about writing his first novel and his beloved Dublin.