Offcomer by Jo Baker
Set in Lancashire, Oxford and Belfast, Offcomer (Lancashire dialect for an outsider) tells the story of Claire. Claire - in her own words, 'Jewish-ish' - is the daughter of a Jewish mother adopted when young by Gentiles, and a Gentile father. She is a young woman with little self-esteem, little sense of who she is and little in the way of feeling beyond her regular recourse to cutting her ankle with a razor. Offcomer tells Claire's story from Oxford University to Northern Ireland, of her disastrous relationship with a young academic and the emergence of secrets from her mother's past, to her gradual acceptance of herself as she finds a path to some level of self-esteem and self-worth. Offcomer is a truly remarkable debut, a novel of quiet and real power.