Small Things Like These (Hardcover)

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Small Things Like These (Hardcover)

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December 2021 Indie Next List


“Claire Keegan works magic in this small novel about a truly good man in 1985 Ireland, and the difficult decision he faces at Christmastime. Keegan captures the extraordinary courage required to live an ordinary life with honor.”
— John Lynn, The Kennett Bookhouse, Kennett Square, PA

Staff Reviews


Claire has done what I didn't think could be done: she wrote a cute Christmas story that someone as cynical as me enjoyed! (I guess I it did have just a bit of a dark side as well.) Protagonist Bill Furlong is a coal merchant in Ireland circa 1985. The Catholic Church looms large, performing laundry services for various businesses in town, and running a finishing school for local girls. But Bill makes a coal delivery, and also makes a terrible discovery that apparently the locals are too scared or indifferent to speak up about. Bill's battle with his conscience is a deep dive into his inner demons, self-doubt, and is just such fantastic introspective fiction. The book clocks in at about 114 pages, so it won’t keep you up all night. I'd liken the writing style to that of Leif Enger, and encourage you to pick it up for a nice snowy afternoon.

— Alex Ness

The landmark new novel from award-winning author Claire Keegan


It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.


Already an international bestseller, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.

CLAIRE KEEGAN was raised on a farm in Ireland. Her stories have won numerous awards and are translated into more than twenty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was chosen as a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster, after winning the Davy Byrnes Award--then the world's richest prize for a story--was recently selected by The Times UK as one of the top 50 novels to be published in the 21st century. Her stories have been published in the New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, and Best American Stories. Keegan is now holding the Briena Staunton Fellowship at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Product Details ISBN: 9780802158741
ISBN-10: 0802158749
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: November 30th, 2021
Pages: 128
Language: English