Wrecker, By Summer Wood

Set in a Sixties commune in Humbolt County, Wood's second novel is as attractively soporific as the period and place it portrays.

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The story revolves around Wrecker, a young boy brought to live at Bow Farm by his uncle while his young mother serves out a prison sentence.

Other members of the community step in to help parent Wrecker, including the folksily named Willow, Melody and Johnny Appleseed.

This makeshift family soon become attached to the silent blond child and start to think of him as of their own. Meanwhile the boy's mother, Lisa Fay, is kept alive by the thought of bringing him home.

Steeped in the "soggy paradise" of California's far northern coast, the novel considers the acts of kindness it takes to raise a child.