Irish poet and screenwriter Haverty revisits the old theme of killing the thing you love. Her version comes in a spare, wry debut about a young man who willfully brings ruin upon himself and his brother. Martin Hawkins and his older brother Pierce grow up in the farming community of Fansha, deep in the heart of County Tipperary. Sensible Pierce gravitates to the farm, while Martin goes to Trinity College in Dublin to pursue a career in academia. Then their parents are killed in an accident. After the funeral, Martin returns to college and Pierce takes over the farm. He soon marries Etti, a town girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Back at Trinity, Martin has a breakdown at graduate school and drops out to return to Fansha to face the gossip of the locals--and to find work that he can do on the farm. When Pierce takes his brother with him to purchase some genetically-engineered lambs, Martin spies a spindly one with weirdly expressive eyes and insists on bringing her home as a pet. The lamb, whose DNA has been infused with human genes, is, of course, more like a human infant than a sheep. Dubbed Missy, it brings Martin back to life, filling him with a newfound tenderness. Meanwhile, the mutual attraction between Martin and Etti, long simmering, boils over. Spending more time with Etti, Martin begins to think of Missy as an unwanted ``freak'' and wonders what to do with her. Etti comes up with a plan to take the lamb to Brigitte Bardot's animal sanctuary in the south of France. So Martin and Etti run off together, under the pretense of giving Missy a chance at a happier life. Even so, tragedy results. The plot dances along at a brisk clip as Haverty's precise language beautifully captures her eccentric, isolated cast of rural characters in what's hardly a trail-blazing but nevertheless a promising first novel.