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Review: So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men by Claire Keegan

Title: So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men

Author: Claire Keegan
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 128 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)Ireland

SummaryIn 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.

Review: I really enjoyed Claire Keegan's other two novels that I have read (Small Things Like These and Foster) so when I saw this book of short stories at my local indie bookshop, I didn't hesitate to buy it even though I am not usually a short stories person.

Of the three stories in this slim volume, I liked the third one best even though it was the most disturbing. Keegan has a way of including every detail in her writing: a description of a chicken on the side of the road took up two pages. Normally I wouldn't like this amount of detail for things that don't further the story, but the cadence of her writing makes it all fit together somehow.

These short stories are all about relationships between men and women, each one a different experience, however, they are all about people who are not quite in sync with one another, not in healthy relationships (whether intimate or with a stranger). 

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Challenges for which this counts: none

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