Kay Goodwin is a sixteen-year-old boy with a smart mouth and too much imagination. Marooned in the rundown seaside resort of Cole Bay, his life is a horrible comedy of errors that has trapped him in the country's most dismal place at the worst possible time - the early seventies. He dreams of escaping the crumbling pier and the grumbling pensioners, of finding where he is appreciated, but it's the one thing he can't do. Until he discovers a faraway land with characters who are impossibly exotic, but strangely familiar. In the kingdom of Calabash he can have everything he's ever wanted from life. There's only one small problem. Calabash doesn't actually exist.In an England that's still hungover from the sixties, Kay finds it all too easy to retreat from reality. Everyone in Cole Bay expects him to conform, but Kay is prepared to risk everything to find out what makes him different, what his life really holds, and what will happen if he believes in the impossible...Christopher Fowler's warm-hearted, dryly comic novel takes place at the most painful point of growing up, when childhood dreams are abandoned for hard truths, and everyone gets one last chance to be free.