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An international bestseller and one of The Times’ “Top 50 Novels Published in the 21st Century,” Claire Keegan’s piercing contemporary classic Foster is a heartbreaking story of childhood, loss, and love; now released as a standalone book for the first time ever in the US
It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas’ house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household—where everything is so well tended to—and this summer must soon come to an end.
Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Award and published in an abridged version in the New Yorker, this internationally bestselling contemporary classic is now available for the first time in the US in a full, standalone edition. A story of astonishing emotional depth, Foster showcases Claire Keegan’s great talent and secures her reputation as one of our most important storytellers.
A Best Book of the Year from NPR, New York Public Library, Electric Lit and PBS Newshour
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
A Best Book of November from TIME and Washington Post
“Keegan's output is scarce and her stories are as spare as they are heartrending, whittled down to the essential. If she has published anything that isn't perfect, I haven't seen it… More than most books four times its size, Foster does several of the things we ask of great literature: It expands our world, diverting our attention outward, and it opens up our hearts and minds. This is a small book with a miraculously outsized impact.”
“Claire Keegan’s beautiful new novella, Foster, is no less likely to move you than any heaping 400-page tome you’ll read this year… Keegan’s novella is a master class in child narration. The voice resists the default precociousness, and walks the perfect balance between naïveté and acute emotional intelligence… Like a great, long Ishiguro novel, Keegan makes us complicit in what her characters want, setting us up for utter heartbreak when they don’t get it.”
— New York Times
“Foster is exactly as sad as you imagine it would be, but more stunningly alive than you have any right to expect. Its language settles in your belly and then your bones only seconds after it has passed your eyes… Keegan’s world is lush and full, the details delicately made, ever more rewarding and engaging with every read… While the scale of her story is modest — this one small girl, this short stretch of time — the scope of what Keegan can hold inside of it — the ache of living, the flash of seeing finally what we don’t have, the mourning for all we’ll never be — is as big, brash and ambitious as a story might be.”
— Los Angeles Times
“Enchanting… a study of familial heartache and generosity.”
— Washington Post
“The austere style and measured pacing of “Foster” is perfect… [A] matchless novella.”
— Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Claire Keegan was raised on a farm in Ireland. Her stories have won numerous awards and are translated into thirty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrnes Award then the world’s richest prize for a story. These works have been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Granta, and Best American Stories. Small Things Like These was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, awarded for the finest book in any genre published in the English language. Foster is now part of the school syllabus in Ireland.
All events are listed in Eastern Time and Irish Standard Time.