Troubles of the past: The Slowworm’s Song, by Andrew Miller, reviewed

Andrew Miller specialises in characters who are lost, often struggling to deal with the burden of failure. They don’t come much more adrift than Stephen Rose in The Slowworm’s Song, a former English soldier and alcoholic who is trying to start afresh with Maggie, a daughter he has barely met. Miller plunges straight into this painful yet beautiful novel, opening with the bombshell that drives the narrative: a letter that has arrived with the return address Belfast BT2, and a street Stephen may have walked down 30 years earlier. It is from an organisation calling itself the Commission, signed by an Ambrose Carville, inviting Stephen to come to Belfast in