It's 2008 and Norman Price—a moderately successful 40-something playwright living in Chicago—considers the shuddering impact of the financial crash. What's needed, he thinks, is the will for a new existence. When his parents die, one shortly after the other, The New Existence becomes Norman's mantra as he tries to recalibrate his own shaken world. Into Norman's tentative re-building, a couple of bombshells are dropped. His parents' old house has to go on the market, forcing him to revisit the past. And then he receives a mysterious email from a man he has never met but whose name is instantly, painfully, familiar. Norman's new existence is suddenly threatened by past secrets. Michael Collins takes post 9/11 America as the background for a deeply moving novel about complex identities and the fragility of humanity.