ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan

So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan is published by Faber & Faber and is available now in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Lauren Nicholl for the review copy.

After an uneventful Friday at the Dublin office, Cathal faces into the long weekend and takes the bus home. There, his mind agitates over a woman named Sabine with whom he could have spent his life, had he acted differently. All evening, with only the television and a bottle of champagne for company, thoughts of this woman and others intrude – and the true significance of this particular date is revealed.

From one of the finest writers working today, Keegan’s new story asks if a lack of generosity might ruin what could be between men and women.

Cathal leaves his work in a Dublin office for a long weekend at his home in a more rural area. When he gets there he considers a woman called Sabine and over the course of the evening he thinks about the life he could have had with her. The story itself is only 47 pages long and yet there is so much packed into it. I started off thinking Cathal was one kind of person and then revised my opinion of him as the story progressed. The fact that it was originally published in France as Misogynie might give some indication of Cathal’s nature.

The story is beautifully written and impeccably executed and the sense of place is strong. Keegan is economical with her words but still manages to expose Cathal and convey the reason for the title and the relevance of this particular day. So Late in the Day is the third Claire Keegan book I have read, each one short but perfectly formed. I enjoyed it very much.

Claire Keegan’s stories are translated into more than thirty-five languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrnes Award and in 2020 was chosen by The Times as one of the top fifty works of fiction to be published in the twenty-first century. Small Things Like Thesewas shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize, awarded for the best work of literature, regardless of form, to be published in the English language. It won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, the Ambassadors’ Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

One comment

  • She’s brilliant. And I just spent three days with her in Ireland in her “What is Fiction” course. She’s not just an amazing writer, she’s also an amazing teacher!

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