The comments of Serbian American poet Charles Simic comes to mind when I began to read Neil Jordan’s latest novel Mistaken, which concerns mistaken identities of two boys growing up in Dublin. Simic said: “The secret to our identities lies not in grand events but in the parentheses between events.”

In the novel Kevin Thunder, a Northside boy going to Joeys, the Christian Brothers discover he has a double, so like him that people mistake them for each other. The other boy is Gerald Spain a south side Belvedere boy who grows up to be a writer. The idea is clever and Jordan takes the opportunity to extract the maximum strangeness from a story that ranges from Gothic or Hammer Horror to darker episodes.