Do You Want What I Want?
(Penguin Ireland €??)
ANOTHER illness-mediated story from Denise Deegan, whose unfortunate characters have been strafed with everything from leukaemia to bipolar depression.
This time it's Aids, or the suspicion of it, as young doctor Rory is attacked by a needle-jabbing addict as he makes a visit in a rough Dun Laoghaire flat block.
As Rory faces the prospect of Aids or hepatitis he takes a deep look at his life with girlfriend Louise, and realises that maybe he wants more.
In fact, maybe he wants kids. But Louise doesn't. And so he grows closer to his motherly sister-in-law Orla, abandoned and divorced by Rory's callous brother, who's gone off with a young wan and gelled his hair in search of his inner teenager.
And he wants kids more and more as he becomes involved with Orla's foster-child, whose mother has overdosed and is trying to pull herself back together.
Orla's teenage daughter is hitting the sauce, and alcoholism looms.
ER fans will love this, though all these illnesses are starting to look like literary Munchausen by proxy syndrome
It's a story that pulls the reader in, with appealing characters and surprise twists, and a final devastating childbirth - no, not saying who's giving birth here - with plenty of beeping monitors and emergencies.