In the acknowledgments in “Home Stretch,” Norton thanks “all the people who stayed in Ireland to fight for the modern, tolerant country it has become.”

The e-book was meant at first to be about household reconciliation, however because it took form, it additionally turned concerning the transformation of a nation. “I realized that he was going to come back and see this new Ireland,” Norton mentioned of his foremost character. “For a lot of people, it’s sort of bittersweet. You enjoy it, but you think, ‘Wow, I could have been part of this change.’”

His personal reconciliation with Ireland, Norton mentioned, took place partially due to how his household’s neighbors stepped in to assist when his father died.

“When I was a young kid and someone died and everyone was going around to the house with the beer and cake and sandwiches, I would have thought, ‘Leave them alone,’” he mentioned. “But when I was older, I thought, ‘This is amazing.’ When they come, they’re not just bringing sandwiches but stories about your father, and you’re seeing a fully rounded human being.”

“Home Stretch” is a distinct kind of e-book than the one he would have written as a youthful man.

“If I had been writing books in my 20s, they would have been glib, cynical, harsh and funny in a kind of smart-arsey way,” Norton mentioned. “Now that I’m telling stories in my 50s, there’s more empathy and more of a willingness to understand how characters can do certain things.”

He is intrigued by the notion {that a} story can proceed after the storyteller closes the e-book. But he additionally likes a cheerful decision, he mentioned, and wished “Home Stretch” to conclude not with revenge or punishment, however with redemption.

“I thought, ‘This has to be about forgiveness,’” Norton mentioned. “It’s the only way the story can end.”

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