Set in 1985 in a rural Irish town during the weeks leading up to a particularly cold and bitter Xmas. This parable shoots at the heart, and points an eloquent finger at the complicit silences of a community under the heel of the Catholic Church. The economy of language is astonishing and yet her characters and sense of place are fully and spectacularly realized.
Bill Furlong father of a number of healthy daughters has a contented but not easy life as a lumber and coal merchant. If not for a past kindness which allowed his unmarried mother to remain employed on the estate where Bill was raised, his fortunes may not have been so favorable.
Bill encounters a number of distressed young women who's condition his conscience cannot relinquish, which sets in train a series of events that defy conventional behavior. It's subject matter is horrific but in Claire Keegan's clever hands becomes a beacon for grace under pressure and standing up to be counted. I defy anyone to not enjoy this book on some level.
'Exquisite.' Damon Galgut
'Masterly.' The Times
'Astonishing.' Colm Toibin
'Stunning.' Sunday Independent
'Absolutely beautiful.' Douglas Stuart
A Book of the Year in The Times and The New Statesman