Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Short Story Wednesday ANARCTICA by Claire Keegan


The award-winning Antarctica, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001, and recipient of the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the William Trevor Prize, and the Martin Healy Award, is a haunting debut. "

After reading SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE and FOSTER, I wanted, of course, to see what Keegan's shorts were like. I have only read a couple, but I couldn't have been more surprised. The two novels concern the fate of children, the stories (so far) the desires of adults. In the first and title story, a woman decides she wants to sleep with another man before she is too old for such a dalliance. She finds him at a conference and shares an erotic evening with him followed by a very different morning. 

What is the same in both the novels and story is the sure-footedness of the writing.  Keegan never tells you things you don't need to know but lays the situation out beautifully. A discussion between the lovers that seems perhaps arbitrary in its topic turns out to mean everything by the end. 

I listened to this on Hoopla. What a wonderful resource our libraries gift us. 

Kevin Tipple

Jerry House 

Casual Debris


Jeff Meyerson said...

I've read FOSTER so far and I am waiting for others from the library. Needless to say, there are waiting lists for all of her books.

I finished my last two collections of stories on New Year's Eve, by Amy Hempel and Marisa Silver.

Currently reading the one you recommended last week, I CANNOT TELL A LIE, EXACTLY by Mary Ladd Gavell, and THE CITY OF REFUGE, the collected stories of Harlem doctor Rudolph Fisher, most famous as the author of THE CONJURE-MAN DIES. The Gavell is very good so far. I really liked "The Rotifer," the story picked for the Greatest of the Century collection. Considering that people say short stories don't sell books and similar comments, there are always new people to be discovered, even if some of them are actually dead. Their stories can live on.

pattinase (abbott) said...

They sure work for me. A bad story is over quickly. A bad novel takes more time.

TracyK said...

I looked into this book of short stories when you first talked about Keegan's novels, and I plan to find a copy and read them. I am glad that you liked them.

Margot Kinberg said...

I couldn't agree more about the rich treasure troves in libraries, Patti. The story sounds excellent, too, and I know just what you mean about sure-footed writing. It makes all the difference, doesn't it?

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Have not read this.

My son reads a lot of graphic novels through HOOPLA in the Dallas Library System. His only complaint is they limit him to 15 items and he can blow through that in a couple of days.

George said...

I have this Keegan collection on my Read Real Soon stack. Yes, I delight in Libraries and try to support them with votes on their Budge (who could vote against the Library Budget...but people do) and monetary donations each year.

Casual Debris said...

Hmmm... I have never read Keegan nor know anything about her writing. Maybe I'll try this out.

I have only one out this week: https://casualdebris.blogspot.com/2023/01/casual-shorts-isfdb-top-short-fiction.html


pattinase (abbott) said...

Our library also had Libby.