This is Jimmy Sullivan's recall of three days in his life two years earlier, a time when he and his world fell apart, when his ""sickness"" and his parents' dammed hatreds blasted him from his roots. They were comfortable, in a New Zealand town for which Jimmy had no criticism; a convent school where Sister Angela and the boys were all his friends; the companionship of the vagrant, Bloody Jack; a sister whose visits from Wellington managed to regain an old relationship; but in the consuming, implacable battle between his parents there was the canker. From that came the queer spells in which his protection tricks did not always work, came the issue of the bike which his Dad bought him and which precipitated the deadly crisis which made him fatherless -- and eventually, motherless. Through this thirteen year old's memories come the little naggings, the larger antagonisms of his father and mother, the turbulence of his own emotions that led him to defy God and the confessional, to break a store window, terrify an old lady and stone Bloody Jack -- and, agonized by his own hysteric guilt, to be aware only peripherally of the death of his father and his mother's crime. A time of torment, this has its moments -- of restraint, of physical and mental terror, and of a child's brave and fearful bravado. A changeling from another country.