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Small Things Like These

by Claire Keegan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,9371338,601 (4.23)350
Fiction. Literature. 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.… (more)
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» See also 350 mentions

English (123)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
A treasure of a book which left me awed not unlike when I finished A Month in the Country. A family man and father makes a moral choice whether or not to do the right thing of an Irish Christmas Eve. The writing is exquisite salted with Irish adages and truths. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
Terse, simple and poetic, this long short story pinpoints exactly what it means to be a decent person, and what it means to know the price of decency and the fear of paying it.
A greater story than announced by its length. ( )
  Elanna76 | May 2, 2024 |
Furlong is my new Irish hero. I greatly appreciated the supplemental information the author included in "A Note on the Text" as well. ( )
  dele2451 | Apr 21, 2024 |
Such a simple story—but such a necessary story, especially at this time of year because: “Always, Christmas brought out the best and the worst in people” (96).

In this quietly beautiful winter’s tale, we’re reminded of the darkness of complicity and indifference and how easy it is to look the other way, not getting involved; how easy it is to focus on the mechanical parts of life, forgetting what really matters; and how easy it is to give into fear, avoiding doing what’s right. Through Furlong’s simple introspection—“watching the river flowing darkly along, drinking the snow”—we’re reminded that, no matter how small, kindness towards one another is what really matters, what brings purpose and joy and peace and light (100). ( )
  lizallenknapp | Apr 20, 2024 |
Novella about a man who grew up the son of an unwed mother in 1940s Ireland. Mainly concerning his inner life as he goes about the daily grind of life, and how something in him changes after some chance encounters at the local nunnery (aka Magdalen Laundry). This one was not for me. The writing was fine, and the topic something I feel strongly about, but I didn’t enjoy this nor did it elicit any strong feelings in me. Found it vaguely tedious. ( )
  73pctGeek | Apr 15, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Claire Keeganprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kelly, AidanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.'

Excerpt from 'The Proclamation of the Irish Republic', 1916
Dedication
This story is dedicated to the women and children who suffered time in Ireland's mother and baby homes and Magdalen laundries.

And for Mary McCay, teacher.
First words
In October there were yellow trees.
Quotations
As they carried on along and met more people Furlong did and did not know, he found himself asking was there any point in being alive without helping one another? Was it possible to carry on along through all the years, the decades, through an entire life, without once being brave enough to go up against what was there and yet call yourself a Christian, and face yourself in the mirror?
Always it was the same, Furlong thought; always they carried mechanically on without pauses, to the next job at hand.What would life be like, he wondered, if they were given time to think and reflect on things? (18%)
What most tormented him was not so much how she'd been left in the coal shed or the stance of the Mother Superior; the worst was how the girl had been handled while he was present and how he'd allowed that and had not asked about her baby -- the one thing she had asked him to do -- and how he had taken the money and left her there at the table with nothing before her and the breast milk leaking under the little cardigan and staining her blouse, and how he'd gone on, like a hypocrite, to Mass. (77%)
Why were the things that were closest so often the hardest to see? (87%)
Already he could feel a world of trouble waiting for him behind the next door, but the worst that could have happened was also already behind him; the thing not done, which could have been -- which he would have had to live with for the rest of his life. (95%)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. 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.

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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
Il ose la sauver,
la fille cloîtrée au couvent,
le vendeur de bois
(Tiercelin)

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