Our ReviewsSmall Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan


There is so much in this book it’s hard to believe it is so slim. Honestly, it’s difficult to describe it. Utterly profound without a word wasted is how I’d start. I genuinely felt I was observing a life, a man and his family, right before my very eyes. It moved me to actual tears as it pondered the question of what actually makes us human — indeed, all the small things that make us so.

Bill Furlong is a coal merchant and a father of daughters, five to be precise. He works hard, a decent man, a family man. 

It is Christmas of 1985 in the Irish town where he lives, close to a convent and a training school and laundry where young women reside.

There are rumours circling about the women; common, unmarried girls, it is said. But it is not until Bill discovers one in the coal hatch that he comes face to face with the crises occurring practically on his doorstep and the terrible conditions these distressed young women, some barely adults, are facing. There is so much raw tension here — what will Bill do? The convent has so much power but what he has discovered, it’s as though there are simply are no words for it. This is a dilemma of serious, serious proportions. He has a choice to make.

I was mesmerised by Keegan’s writing. Every word is there for a reason, it has a true and clear purpose, which gives this book a power far beyond it’s pages. Simply put, this was a total stunner of a read and one I can’t forget. And I’ll keep it short now, like Keegan herself with two words to conclude: FIVE STARS ~ S 

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