Book Review: Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

About the Book:

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

An exquisite winter tale of courage – and its cost, set in Catholic Ireland.

Published by Faber

Released October 2022

My Thoughts:

This novella is perfection. It is a literal tiny masterpiece that demonstrates the power of fiction. Set in the mid-1980s, Thatcher is in power in the UK and Ireland is struggling economically. Bill Furlong, child of an unwed Irish mother, father to five girls, stumbles upon a girl who is terrified and mistreated on the grounds of a convent. Something inside him shifts and he acts with instinct.

‘As they carried on along and met more people Furlong did and did not know, he found himself asking was there any point in being alive without helping one another? Was it possible to carry on along through all the years, the decades, through an entire life, without once being brave enough to go against what was there and yet call yourself a Christian, and face yourself in the mirror?’

I love how Claire Keegan writes, with such elegance. Little wonder this novella was Shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize list. I’m not giving away much with this one, but trust me, it’s stunning.

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

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