2022 Grove Press (first published in 2010)
Finished on January 17, 2023
Rating: 5/5 (Outstanding)
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 Prize and first published in the New Yorker, Claire Keegan's Foster has sold over 120,000 copies in the UK and Ireland, where it is also required reading in schools. A story of astonishing emotional depth now expanded and newly revised in a standalone edition, Foster showcases Claire Keegan's great talent and cements her reputation as one of our most important and prodigious storytellers.
Typically, I don't care for short stories, preferring to immerse myself in a novel and become fully acquainted with the cast of characters. However, Claire Keegan's brilliant novella pulled me in from the opening lines and I didn't stop reading until the final page, at which I flipped back to the beginning and re-read the first chapter. Keegan's spare prose and tender relationships bring to mind Kent Haruf's beloved Plainsong; I can see how Foster garnered tremendous popularity in 2022.
Foster is deeply moving and a treasure of a book. I can hardly wait to get a copy of Small Things Like These, which has been equally popular among readers. Thank you, Ann Patchett, for bringing Keegan's books to my attention on Parnassus' Friday stories ("If You Haven't Read These Books, They're New to You") on Instagram. My to-be-read list keeps growing thanks to these recommendations!
“She is able to tell a story in a paragraph, or to compress a novel into a few thousand words,” said Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor at The New Yorker, which published an abridged version of “Foster” in 2010. “There’s such a precision to what she notices.”
After reading your review I put a hold at my library for Foster. I was going to read Small Things Like These last year around Christmas but didn't so I added it to my '23 list.ReplyDelete
Vicki, I want to read Small Things Like These, as well. Keegan is a remarkable writer!Delete
I loved this book! It was my introduction to this author and honestly, I didn't know it was a short story when I got it. Great prose and I did the same as you, went back and reread the beginning.ReplyDelete
Tina, I thought it was just wonderful. And, it's so short, it can easily be read several times. Did you know the film The Quiet Girl is based on Keegan's story? I haven't seen it, but I plan to! And, it's been nominated for an Oscar.Delete
I didn't know that, thanks for telling me!Delete
I'm looking forward to watching the film, once it's available to stream, Tina.Delete
Yeah the ending was a bit tense. Sad too. I will look for The Quiet Girl film .... thanks.ReplyDelete
Susan, tense and ambiguous. I'm eager to read more by this author!Delete
I'm waiting for this book. I thought Small Things Like These was exceptional, and now I want to read this one.ReplyDelete
You are in for a treat, Deb. I'm looking forward to reading Small Things Like These. Just need to order a copy...Delete
I just loved this one, too! I listened to Small Things Like These, but it was just okay... think I need to reread that one in print.ReplyDelete
JoAnn, I'm planning to get a print copy of Small Things Like These. I'm also curious about Antarctica, although I'm not a big fan of short stories. She may change my mind, though!Delete
I am not a big short story reader either, but this sounds good. It's been far too long since I've read some really good Irish literature.ReplyDelete
Helen, when I think more about it, I'm not one to read a collection of short stories. However, a stand-alone novella, such as this one, is something I enjoy.Delete
I tend to prefer longer books too (not chunksters!) but have only heard great things about her books so definitely looking forward to reading them.ReplyDelete
Iliana, this is definitely worthwhile in spite of it's brevity.Delete