Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press


by Claire Keegan

“Reading Irish-born Claire Keegan is like succumbing to a drug: eerie, hallucinogenic, time-stopping.”—San Francisco Chronicle

A new edition of the now iconic fiction writer Claire Keegan’s debut story collection featuring a fresh cover to tie in with her current bestselling trio: the Booker Prize shortlisted Small Things Like These, Foster, and So Late in the Day

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date October 29, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6374-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00

“These stories are diamonds.” —Esquire

First published in 1999 and proclaimed “an impressive debut” by William Trevor, Antarctica introduced the world to Claire Keegan, whose short fiction has since captured readers worldwide and established her as “among the form’s most masterful practitioners” (New York Times). Now with a revised titular story, this iridescent first collection of stories draws readers into a world of obsession and betrayal in Keegan’s singular, commanding and award-winning prose.

In “Antarctica,” a married woman travels out of town to see what it’s like to sleep with a man other than her husband. In “Love in the Tall Grass,” Cordelia wakes on the last day of the twentieth century and sets off along the coast road to keep a date, with her lover, that has been nine years in the waiting. In “Passport Soup,” Frank Corso mourns the curious disappearance of his young daughter and tries desperately to reach out to his shattered wife who has gone mad with grief. Keegan’s writing contains a clear vision of unaffected truths and boldly explores a world where dreams, memory, and chance have crippling consequences for those involved. Often dark and enveloped in a palpable atmosphere, the reader feels that something momentous is lurking within each of these carefully sculpted tales.

The winner of the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, Antarctica remains a dazzling and haunting debut by one of the world’s best short story writers.

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.”—New York Times Book Review

“These stories are diamonds.”—Esquire

Antarctica is an appropriate title for 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.”—Boston Globe

“The integrity of emotion Keegan achieves, her combination of male and female personas and perspectives is at time reminiscent of Carver or Annie Proulx.”—Irish Times

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

“Here really is an exciting first book of deliberate, contemplative short stories . . . The aesthetic here is always the appeal to palpability of language itself. Suggestions of Heaney and Frost travel through the prose.”—London Observer

“Where Keegan’s writing differs from most psychological thriller-chillers is in its disconcerting calmness of expression . . . The flatness of Keegan’s style, her art of implication, and the focus on southern Irish life put one in mind of Joyce’s Dubliners . . . With writing of this quality, uneventfulness could be just compelling as crisis.”—Times Literary Supplement

“Among the finest contemporary stories written recently in English.”—The Observer

“The beautifully crafted stories in her first collection, Antarctica, are like chilling, adult versions of fairy tales—albeit with echoes of Raymond Carver and William Trevor.”—Sunday Telegraph

“Keegan has a remarkably poetic vision and she treats hurt and laughter, love and hate, with the same calm, almost ethereal style.”—Sunday Tribune

“A collection of tiny stories that read almost like poems, the narratives in Antarctica gleam like cold, sharp-edged gems.”—Amber Cowan, The Times (London)

“With Antarctica, Claire Keegan presents us with a series of small worlds under glass, that you shake for snow. Wonderfully detailed and vivid, these are stories of complicity and escape. She is quite unafraid.”—Anne Enright, author of The Wren, The Wren

“These stories display a prodigious talent. Claire Keegan’s imaginative energy, full of surprising tones and gestures, mixes a very dark vision with a strange lightness. The variety of her characters, her countries and her regions of the mind establish her as a writer of astonishing range. And the pull between the sympathetic and the sardonic in her stories gives them an extraordinary, fresh tension.”—Colm Tóibín, author of Long Island

“Claire Keegan is a real writer. Her will is impossible to resist. Her stories are pure. Their effect is cumulative. Their scope is stunning. Ms. Keegan is an enlightened being who in another age might’ve been a saint or a scientist, who happens to write with the force of a locomotive.”—Matthew Klam, author of Who Is Rich?

“These are some of the best short stories I’ve read in years.”—Roddy Doyle, author of Life Without Children

“A beautiful, tender work of great clarity. It’s a joy to read work of such energy and even poetry.”—Sebastian Barry, author of Old God’s Time

Praise for Claire Keegan:

“Claire Keegan is one of the greatest fiction writers in the world.”—George Saunders

“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

“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

“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

“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