I have a friend who was a college professor before she made the brave decision to leave the security of academia and strike out on her own as a writer. Once or twice a year she sends me two books and a nice note expressing her reluctance to add to the number of books I need to read—and her conviction that I will love these two. She is always right.
One she sent recently is The Law of Dreams, by Peter Behrens. It is about a boy orphaned during the Irish potato famine of 1847. He lands in a gang of similarly orphaned children who are left to provide for themselves by foraging and stealing—a reminder of similar children who are trying to survive in Darfur or in the street gangs of Chicago. Somehow Fergus makes it through his time in an orphanage in Dublin and through a harrowing sea voyage to this country, where he finds a new life of hope and possibility.