So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men

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Product Details
$20.00  $18.60
Grove Press
Publish Date
4.9 X 7.3 X 0.8 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

Claire Keegan's works of fiction are internationally acclaimed and have been translated into thirty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrnes Award -- the world's richest prize for a short story. Small Things Like These was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. It won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and The Kerry Prize for Irish Novel of the Year. She was awarded Woman of the Year for Literature in Ireland, 2022, and Author of the Year, 2023.


Praise for So Late in the Day

Longlisted for the Story Prize

A Barnes & Noble, San Francisco Chronicle, and Bloomberg Best Book of the Year

An Electric Literature and Oprah Daily Best Short-Story Collection of 2023

A Most Anticipated Book of Fall from TIME, Guardian (UK) and Marie Claire (UK)

An Amazon Best Book of November and People Magazine's Book of the Week

"Nothing short of a masterpiece." --New York Times

"I did not think realism could be truly feminist until I saw Keegan wield its techniques . . . When realism is more revelatory of the world than reality itself, what can you do but feel grateful for Keegan's mastery of it?" -- The Atlantic

"The arrival of Keegan's newest book, "So Late in the Day," offers further confirmation of her spellbinding powers: the unpretentious language that feels forged in a hearth, the evocation of a pastoral but repressive Ireland, the characters whose predicaments remain lodged in your consciousness far longer than the epic battles of 1,000-page sagas."--Los Angeles Times

"Across her oeuvre, Keegan illuminates violence better than almost anyone, avoiding easy didacticism. She pulls apart the strands of misogyny in individuals and institutions, diagnosing the same problem in both . . . Throughout her career, Keegan seems to emphasize that we take nothing with us and that all that matters is what we give each other." --Washington Post

"Each story is as substantive as a novel, and as breathtaking." --San Francisco Chronicle, "Favorite Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2023" Selection

"In spare and exact strokes, Keegan transforms these domestic circumstances into universal mirrors. Easy to devour in a single sitting but likely to haunt you for years." --Oprah Daily, A Best Short-Story Collection of 2023

"A trio of brilliantly polished stories . . . In Keegan's expert hands, even a minor skirmish--between a pushy older man and the writer who grudgingly lets him interrupt her solitude at an artist's residency--illuminates how the sexes so often seem to navigate the world on completely different operating systems."--People Magazine, Book of the Week

"The sharp observations and memories of Keegan's characters reach back into the inheritance and perpetuation of misogyny as well as the objectification of women, but is done so masterfully, naturally, and imaginatively that you may not even realize that these ideas drive the stories until the second read. So Late in the Day is a powerful and necessary collection for not only this day and age, but any." --Electric Literature, A Best Short Story Collection of the Year

"A master class in precisely crafted short fiction... Keegan's trenchant observations explode like bombshells, bringing menace and retribution to tales of romance delayed, denied, and even deadly." -- Booklist, starred review

"Compact but deep explorations of human vulnerability from a master of the form." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Exquisite . . . These pristine stories demonstrate the author's genius for economy. Keegan says in a paragraph what other writers take entire novels to reveal." -- Publishers Weekly

"Reading Irish-born Claire Keegan is like succumbing to a drug: eerie, hallucinogenic, time-stopping. Her simplest sentences envelop the brain (and all the senses) in a deep, fully dimensional dream . . . Each story is as substantive as a novel, and as breathtaking . . . Unforgettable." --San Francisco Chronicle, "Favorite Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2023" Selection

"Impressive . . . Keegan's thrifty prose again yields concise, substantive, and spellbinding storytelling." --Boston Globe

"Tight, potent . . . [Keegan] has chosen her details carefully. Everything means something . . . Her details are so natural that readers might not immediately understand their significance. The stories grow richer with each read . . . [These stories] have new and powerful things to say about the ever-mystifying, ever-colliding worlds of contemporary Irish women and the men who stand in their way." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Keegan is the kind of writer whose spare, slippery work you want to reread . . . [her] sentences shape shift the second time 'round, twisting themselves into a more emotionally complicated story." --NPR

"[Keegan] creates vivid characters who shed light not only on the complexity of gender issues but also on the hopes and despair of being human." -- Bloomberg, A Best Book of the Year

"Each story in So Late in the Day offers readers the suspense one might feel when walking home alone late at night. Violence lurks in Keegan's stories, just as it does in our real world, despite it being so late in the story of women and men." --Washington Independent Review of Books

"It's impossible to overstate the talent of this Irish writer. Her stories are neither happy nor sad; she taps into some unnamed emotion that is more true, more pure . . . Gift this perfect little triptych to everyone on your holiday list." --The Center for Fiction

"A masterclass in brevity and narrative precision . . . Keegan's fiction is full of understated knowledge, restraint and subtext . . . Every sentence, every dialogue is layered and pregnant with meaning . . . So Late in the Day is proof that in the hands of a deft, masterful writer like Keegan, a short story, or a novella, can convey more and be more richly rewarding than many contemporary brick-size novels." --Daily Star

"[Keegan's] slim volumes of fiction . . . are like master classes in how to say more with less." -- Bookreporter

"[Keegan] is a superb stylist: every well-structured paragraph contains multitudes... Incredibly engrossing... She constructs her stories from a skeleton of inferences that rise, gloriously, to form complex urges, crimes, desires, rebellions and, crucially, universal truths. Each brief work is worth the wait: Keegan is something special." -- Sunday Times (UK)

"A mini-masterpiece . . . There is nothing demonstrative about this prose, which is not spare but restrained, strategically discharging touches of eloquence only when needed, and not through a profusion of descriptive detail, but through choice adjectives and verbs that just stray from the literal . . . Keegan stands almost without rival." -- Irish Times (UK)

"Claire Keegan is known for Tardis-like narratives that are bigger on the inside . . . So Late in the Day illuminates misogyny across Irish society." -- Guardian (UK)

"Claire Keegan is the queen of the miniaturists." --The Times (UK)

"Stunning." -- Marie Claire (UK)

"[Keegan's] observations make ordinary days effulge with magic." -- BookBrowse

"[Keegan] is an expert on the territory that spreads between hope and despair." -- Post and Courier

"Exquisite." -- Daily Mail (UK)

"There aren't enough words in the universe to fully describe quite how affecting this little book is... As with all of Keegan's work the pace is perfectly measured, like a relaxed heartbeat... Each sentence, each word is meticulously placed.... As always, Keegan describes the domestic quotidian in beautiful detail, elevating it - women's work - to an art form... This is a treasure of a book." -- Sunday Independent (UK)

"Astonishing... perfect." -- Prima (UK)

"The stories' premises evoke classic Hollywood--the end of an affair, a chance encounter, a passionate weekend--but Keegan twists expectations in ways that not even Cary Grant could unravel." -- Chapter 16

Praise for Foster

"Claire Keegan's beautiful new novella, Foster, is no less likely to move you than any heaping 400-page tome you'll read this year... Keegan's novella is a master class in child narration. The voice resists the default precociousness, and walks the perfect balance between naïveté and acute emotional intelligence... Like a great, long Ishiguro novel, Keegan makes us complicit in what her characters want, setting us up for utter heartbreak when they don't get it." -- New York Times

"Keegan's work takes me back to when I first experienced the palpable thrill of entering an author's world. Her sentences are so artfully honed but so free of artifice they feel as rough and verdant as sprigs of fresh heather...I don't want to say anything more about Foster, except 'Read it.'" -- Ron Charles, Washington Post Book Club

"Keegan's output is scarce and her stories are as spare as they are heartrending, whittled down to the essential. If she has published anything that isn't perfect, I haven't seen it... More than most books four times its size, Foster does several of the things we ask of great literature: It expands our world, diverting our attention outward, and it opens up our hearts and minds. This is a small book with a miraculously outsized impact." -- NPR

"Foster is exactly as sad as you imagine it would be, but more stunningly alive than you have any right to expect. Its language settles in your belly and then your bones only seconds after it has passed your eyes... Keegan's world is lush and full, the details delicately made, ever more rewarding and engaging with every read... While the scale of her story is modest -- this one small girl, this short stretch of time -- the scope of what Keegan can hold inside of it -- the ache of living, the flash of seeing finally what we don't have, the mourning for all we'll never be -- is as big, brash and ambitious as a story might be." -- Los Angeles Times

"Enchanting... a study of familial heartache and generosity." -- Washington Post

"The austere style and measured pacing of "Foster" is perfect... [A] matchless novella." -- Wall Street Journal

"Balancing Keegan's delicate, sparing prose and masterful ear for dialogue with a tale that is almost overwhelming in its tenderness, Foster is a heart-wrenching treasure of a book that only serves to confirm Keegan's place as one of contemporary Irish literature's leading lights." -- Vogue, The Best Books to Read this Fall

Praise for Small Things Like These

"For all her earlier accolades, Small Things Like These, Keegan's first novel, enters the world this month with the shocking force of a debut...Over what would amount to a couple of chapters in another novel, Keegan manages to place her characters and her readers at the center of an essential human dilemma: Will we turn a blind eye to evil in our midst, or will we take some action against it, even if it consists of just one small thing? As Keegan's concise, capacious new book demonstrates, little acts can lead to real change."--Los Angeles Times

"Keegan's precisely considered details about character, setting, memory, and dramatic moment create a story you will want to read again and again. Her deceptively simple language is pitch-perfect."--Boston Globe

"This exquisite miniature of a novel somehow defies the gravitational pull of its grim subject to hover in a quotidian, luminous present. Details materialize with preternatural clarity. The milky light of a winter afternoon, mist on a river, a woman opening an oven door, a child taking her father's hand: We see these things and feel their lingering presence as we are drawn into the life of an unassuming man in an unremarkable place."--The Wall Street Journal

"Claire gives us her best work yet. Small Things Like These is a short, wrenching, thoroughly brilliant novel mapping the path of one man's conscience, its torment and vacillation between two courses of action. Either one bears a price...Spare and potent, this is a remarkable story." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A sparse, breathtaking perfect gem of a novel."--People

"Small Things Like These is a hypnotic and electrifying Irish tale that transcends country, transcends time. Claire Keegan's sentences make my heart pound and my knees buckle and I will always read everything she writes."--Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers

"A book that makes you excited to discover everything its author has ever written... Absolutely beautiful."--Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain

"Marvellous -- exact and icy and loving all at once."--Sarah Moss, author of Ghost Wall

Praise for Walk the Blue Fields

"Perfect short stories . . . flawless structure . . . What makes this collection a particular joy is the run and pleasure of the language." -- Anne Enright, The Guardian

"The best stories here are so textured and moving, so universal but utterly distinctive, that it's easy to imagine readers savoring them many years from now." -- New York Times Book Review

"[A] stunning second collection . . . Keegan's stories are the literary counterparts to Picasso's Blue Period paintings. . . . Keegan's first collection, Antarctica, led to comparisons with Raymond Carver, but Annie Proulx, with her distilled, poetic prose and attunement to remote landscapes, is a closer match." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"These short fictions by the Irish author Claire Keegan haven't a style so much as a microclimate, a chill mist blowing in on a hard wind off the sea. . . . The author's own storytelling powers have darkened and matured since her first collection, as she takes confident command of her craft." - The Boston Globe

"Hope lurks somewhere in almost all [Keegan's] stories. . . . You start out on the paths of these simple, rural lives, and not long into each, some bit of rage or unforgivable transgression bubbles up . . . Then the truly amazing happens: Life goes on, limps along, heads for some new chance at beauty." - Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A note-perfect short story is something a very few people can produce. The Irish writer Claire Keegan does it in her second collection of stories. . . . Immaculate structure, a lovely, easy flow of language, and a certain stony-eyed realism about human experience; she is very much part of an Irish tradition, but a unique craftswoman for all that." -Hilary Mantel, New Statesman

"These stories are pure magic. They add, using grace, intelligence and an extraordinary ear for rhythm, to the distinguished tradition of the Irish short story. They deal with Ireland now, but have a sort of timeless edge to them, making Claire Keegan both an original and a canonical presence in Irish fiction." -- Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn

Praise for Antarctica

"That Keegan has a knack for story-telling is proved many times over, in stories that reject the parable approach for a more informal, intimate style. . . . Her ear seems to tune in to the rhythms of life with enviably direct phrasing." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Reading these stories is like coming upon work by Ann Beattie or Raymond Carver at the start of their careers." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Antarctica is an appropriate title from these spare and chilly stories by the up-and-coming Irish writer Claire Keegan. . . . Keegan [is] an authentic talent with a gimlet eye and a distinctive voice." -- The Boston Globe

"In her debut collection, Keegan transcends well-worn themes of adultery and family discord, fashioning resonant stories with fairy-tale simplicity." --Newsweek

"Beautifully crafted, sometimes horrific, often very funny; these are some of the best stories I've read in years." --Roddy Doyle, author of Life Without Children