"Booker-shortlisted Small Things Like These is a beautiful short read consumed with morality and brimming with hope and heroism. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again."
It's 1985 in New Ross in Ireland as we are introduced to Bill Furlong and his family.
Furlong, a coal and timber merchant had come from nothing, when pregnant out of wedlock he and his mother had been taken in by Mrs Wilson the Protestant widow on the edge of town. Now almost 40, married and with five daughters, Bill has done well. He has a good head for business, works hard and has no taste for drink. But he's consumed by his past, he longs to know more about his father, he lies awake at night worrying about the small little things, and the bigger ones. The work, the worry, what he sees every day, what he chooses to ignore, what he can't help but see.
Written in Keegan's simple style of writing, this book is a beauty. Her descriptive way of writing ensures that you can visualise every nook and cranny of the town, every character is in technicolour in spite of the gloom of the tale. Every chipper, dole queue, bingo hall, every clamour round the Rayburn, every visit to the convent, every instance of suffering.
Dedicated to the women and children who suffered time in Ireland's mother and baby homes and Magdalen laundries, this is a haunting tale that I won't forget in a hurry.
|Primary Genre||Historical Fiction|