The story is set in an old, run-down property in a town that could be anywhere in England. The house certainly needs a lot of fixing up but it does represent a new start for Michael’s family.
There’s an old, perfectly disgusting toilet in the middle of the dining room as the previous owner, a chronically ill, elderly man, could not climb the stairs anymore. The toilet is one of the first things that Michael’s father sets about to remove.
In the wilderness that Michael’s father calls a garden stays a crumbling, old garage – Skellig’s hiding place. It is full of beetles, spiders and mice.
Despite, or maybe because of, the filthy, disgusting environment, Almond manages to create a highly emotional and magical atmosphere in which friendship, trust and love are encouraged to strive.