Rachel Seiffert’s meticulously constructed third novel opens intriguingly with the arrival of a shabby, undernourished young man looking for work on a Glasgow building project. Apparently without home or family (and also without his own work boots), Stevie is an enigma in the eyes of Jozef, the Polish site manager whose own sense of family and community makes his new recruit’s situation unimaginable. The question The Walk Home sets out to answer is: what traumas in Stevie’s short life have led to such a desperate situation?
Moving between ‘now, or thereabouts’ and the 1990s, Seiffert’s theme is families and the hurt and harm that they do, as well as the enduring idea that history repeats itself. Stevie’s mother, Lindsey, runs away from her home in Northern Ireland, driven partly by her dislike of the politics of