Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

Summary: already a modern classic

In the middle 1980s, Bill Furlong is a fuel merchant in the town of New Ross in the South-East of Ireland. He is doing alright in difficult financial times. But on the verge of middle age, this father of five daughters is beset with the usual worries, about money, about the future of this daughters, about getting them into the good school in town. Perhaps, he feels these worries more keenly than others because, this is the only family he has, his mother having died when he was a child and never knowing his father.

In the run up to Christmas, Furlong’s work brings him all sorts of places, including to the laundry that the nuns run, where they take care of girls who have become pregnant out of wedlock. This was a fate Bill’s mother avoided because of the kindness of her employer, a Protestant woman farmer who made sure this didn’t happen.

Small Things Like These is a very small book about an enormous thing. It is a beautifully written and intensely moving story of an ordinary man in an ordinary place, finding the courage to do something properly heroic. There are books fifty times the length of this one that have less to say, less memorably.

This book is sure to achieve the status of a modern classic and justly so. It is an outstanding piece of work, utterly exquisite.

1 thought on “Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

  1. Pingback: My books of the year for 2022 | aidanjmcquade

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