A struggling composer tries to get away from it all at a remote Irish beach house, but a chance weather event seems to imbue him with special powers that give him disturbing views of future events.
In Spaniard Santiago’s English language debut, classical composer Peter Harper, reeling from a recent nasty divorce, relocates temporarily to County Donegal, Ireland, to the remote Tremore Beach near the tiny hamlet of Clenhburran. His only neighbors are Leo and Marie Kogan, an older, bohemian couple who live down the beach. Peter spends much of his time moping about how his creative juices have slowed to a trickle or acting surly when new acquaintances want to know about his past accomplishments. Everything changes one night when he’s driving home from Leo and Marie’s in a thunderstorm and gets struck by lightning. Considering his rather repugnant personality, readers may be disappointed that he survives with barely a physical scratch, though his mental state is another matter. Plagued first by excruciating headaches and then violent visions that are so real he’s convinced an armed takeover of the house is imminent, Peter isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind or if the lightning has allowed him to tap into some sort of premonition-type power. His girlfriend-in-all-but-name, Judie Gallagher, suggests he see a sleep doctor, but this only intensifies the visions, and when his young children come to visit, Peter is convinced that something terrible is on the horizon, a certainty that the reader simply doesn’t share, as Santiago doesn’t do the necessary narrative work to either prove or disprove Peter’s tenuous state of mind.
A sadly squandered setting and a protagonist who’s more abrasive than empathetic make for a lackluster story of things, real or imaginary, that go bump in the night.