Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

So Late in the Day

Stories of Women and Men

by Claire Keegan

From Booker Prize Finalist and bestselling author of “pitch perfect” (Boston GlobeSmall Things Like These, comes a tryptic of stories about love, lust, betrayal, misogyny, and the ever-intriguing interchanges between women and men

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 128
  • Publication Date November 14, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6085-0
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.25"
  • US List Price $20.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date November 14, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6087-4
  • US List Price $20.00

Celebrated for her powerful short fiction, considered “among the form’s most masterful practitioners” (New York Times), Claire Keegan now gifts us three exquisite stories, newly revised and expanded, together forming a brilliant examination of gender dynamics and an arc from Keegan’s earliest to her most recent work.

In “So Late in the Day,” Cathal faces a long weekend as his mind agitates over a woman with whom he could have spent his life, had he behaved differently; in “The Long and Painful Death,” a writer’s arrival at the seaside home of Heinrich Böll for a residency is disrupted by an academic who imposes his presence and opinions; and in “Antarctica,” a married woman travels out of town to see what it’s like to sleep with another man and ends up in the grip of a possessive stranger.

Each story probes the dynamics that corrupt what could be between women and men: a lack of generosity, the weight of expectation, the looming threat of violence. Potent, charged, and breathtakingly insightful, these three essential tales will linger with readers long after the book is closed.

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 Keegan…now 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.”—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.”—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.”—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