Fiction Book Group - Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan

December Fiction

The December Fiction Book Group will be meeting via Zoom

Monday, December 13th • 6:30 PM ET / 11:30 PM IST via Zoom
Session open to all, no registration required.

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The landmark new novel from award-winning author Claire Keegan

It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.

Already an international bestseller, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.

“In Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan creates scenes with astonishing clarity and lucidity. This is the story of what happened in Ireland, told with sympathy and emotional accuracy. From winter skies to the tiniest tick of speech to the baking of a Christmas cake, Claire Keegan makes her moments real—and then she makes them matter.”
 Colm Tóibín

“The latest from multi-award-winning Irish novelist Keegan (Antarctica) indicts the social culture that enabled Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and brilliantly articulates a decent person’s struggle of conscience… Keegan’s beautiful prose is quiet and precise, jewel-like in its clarity. Highly recommended.”
— Library Journal

“Keegan’s psychologically astute characterizations subtly convey the dual pressures of culpability and fear felt by the faithful… A trenchant and plangent work asking at what cost does one remain silent.”
— Booklist

“This novel, which has all the trappings of a Claire Keegan story (small-town Ireland, a dark secret, a man with a burden to bear) is sure to be absolutely beloved by all who read it.”
— Literary Hub

“Irish story writer Keegan’s gorgeously textured second novella (after Foster) centers on a family man who wants to do the right thing… Keegan beautifully conveys Bill’s interior life as he returns to the house where he was raised… It all leads to a bittersweet culmination, a sort of anti–Christmas Carol, but to Bill it’s simply sweet. Readers will be touched.”
— Publishers Weekly

“There are many things I love about Claire Keegan’s writing. Her way with place and atmosphere, her perfectly structured stories, the fullness and generosity of the openings that narrow as time moves on and the options available to her characters seem to dwindle, bringing them (and us) to ends that are at once surprising and fated… All Keegan’s writing, including her long-awaited new novel, Small Things Like These, has this same immersive, deeply considered quality.”
— Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times

Claire Keegan

About the Author
Claire Keegan was raised on a farm in Ireland. Her stories have won numerous awards and are translated into more than twenty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was chosen as 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, after winning the Davy Byrnes Award — then the world’s richest prize for a story — was recently selected by The Times UK as one of the top 50 novels to be published in the 21st Century. Her stories have been published in the New YorkerParis ReviewGranta, and Best American Stories. Keegan now holds the Briena Staunton Fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

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