Foster, Claire Keegan


July 2023

A world shaking slip of a book, read the week of Sinead O’Connor’s death as a sort of reminder of the Ireland she grew up in, the hell she went through, the horrors she spoke out about.

A girl is taken by her father to stay with her mother’s people while her mother, at home, manages the last months of a pregnancy. There have been many pregnancies, too many.

The girl feels dumped, abandoned. Are they giving her away to an old couple she doesn’t know? She can tell that something is wrong here, but they are kind, loving, generous, thoughtful. She feels all sorts of things she never has before - wanted, held, useful, needed. But then the call comes to go home.

I found Foster as spectacular as Small Things Like These; an intricate puzzle in its brevity and power and lightness. Part of me wants Claire Keegan to write much longer stories, the rest of me knows that’s not what she does.

If you can stretch to it, I recommend buying a few Claire Keegans at a time - they’re short and very more-ish