Small Things Like These
To her creative writing students, Claire Keegan regularly reminds them that writing is all about suggestion, never about explication, and that an accomplished writer has to master the structure of each sentence as well as each paragraph.
Small Things Like These, her latest work, is a stunning showcase of these tenets. In a small town in rural Ireland, Bill Furlong, the coal merchant, is busy keeping up with his customers’ orders as the year nears its end. At the helm of his small company and the father of five daughters, he has built a life by himself. His mother, a domestic servant, got pregnant at fifteen but she and her baby were not thrown out of the house as was often the case. In that way, he has had more luck than other children. On Christmas Eve he makes his last delivery to the convent – where, under the pretext to educate them – the nuns exploit young women “of loose morals” to work in the convent laundry. What he discovers there and the unexpected and life-changing decision it leads too is told with such restraint and grace, it makes this beautiful text as enigmatic and heart-breaking as Foster.
Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Small Things Like These