I have read (after finishing the audio of this book) that the events within are set around the Irish Troubles of the '70s. That is not specifically mentioned in the book and not something I realized or picked up on.
The story is set in a troubled time where rumour, interpretation, contacts and the ability to fit in (or not) sets the tone of a life, how the person is accepted or fits into "the group". One needs to say the right things, go to the right places, have the right quirks & habits. If not, one is ostracized from one's neighbours & society. A misfit. A misfit will be shunned by all, made to feel an outcast & unwanted. It's a game changer.
This story could be set in any time and place where control of the people is a mainstay of Society. Good writing. The narration by Brid Brennan is superb.