Winston ("Winter") Crowley is a young Irishman who grows up in Canada, but feels forever bound by family ties to his native Belfast. At the age of (almost) twenty, this boy in a cultural bubble returns to Northern Ireland at the request of his aloof, judgemental father, in a final effort to make things right between them during the course of an extraordinary odyssey, circling Ireland's wind-swept coastal shores. While father and son get to know each other as adults and equals, Winter learns something of the war-torn history of his homeland, the mysterious split within two branches of the family, and the attitudes of the Irish toward modern warfare generally, in a war-torn world. But conflict isn't always resolved with bullets. His father teaches Winston a great deal more, including some shocking truths about the oft-time brutal relationship between love, lust, religion and politics.
The story of Winston's voyage is fleshed out with other memories - his comically traumatic circumcision at the age of eight, his meeting with a famous, drunken poet and his chance encounter with a talking horse. Collectively, this weird gallery of colourful snapshots captures the life and times of Winston Crowley, Polymath in the making, named after "a British National hero and an Irish nut," his travels, friends and family, his own ruminations vividly explored. If ever there were such a thing as a story with something for everyone, this is it.