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Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan is the long awaited second collection from the Booker-shortlisted author of Small Things Like These.
A long-haired woman moves into the priest’s house and sets fire to his furniture. That Christmas, the electricity goes out. A forester mortgages his land and goes off to a seaside town looking for a wife. He finds a woman eating alone in the hotel. A farmer wakes half-naked and realises the money is almost gone. And in the title story, a priest waits on the altar for a bride and battles, all that wedding day, with his memories of a love affair. In her long-awaited second collection, Claire Keegan observes an Ireland wrestling with its past.
This stunningly accomplished book locates her amongst the greatest practitioners of the short-story.
Keegan is a rarity: someone I will always want to read.
Stunning . . . Keegan possesses enormous skill in telling a good story where the last few lines always leave you reeling.
Her stories are original, sometimes shocking, and always spot-on in the smallest details. The sheer skill on display (and indeed hidden from display) is breath-taking.
Keegan’s fiction makes most novels look too fancy; her short stories make most prose seem too plain. Her inner and outer landscapes, the palpable and the imagined, are all of a piece. You think you are just looking – it turns out you are travelling.
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.
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