Paddy Clarke is ten years old. Paddy Clarke lights fires. Paddy Clarke's name is written in wet cement all over Barrytown, north Dublin. Paddy Clarke's heroes are Father Damien (and the lepers), Geronimo and George Best. Paddy Clarke has a brother called Francis, but Paddy calls him Sinbad and hates him because that's the rule. Paddy Clarke knows the exact moment to knock a dead scab from his knee. Paddy Clarke loves his Ma and Da, but it seems like they don't love each other, and Paddy's world is falling apart.