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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Antarctica by Claire Keegan

Keegan turns her keen eye to the small moments that transform a life in this riveting short story collection. The settings range from the South to rural Ireland, and characters face temptation, betrayal, crushing blows, and surprising new beginnings.

When I fell in love with Keegan's novels Foster and Small Things Like These in quick succession, I became an all-in Claire Keegan fan for life.

I was recently talking with my friend James about books and our shared affinity for Keegan's writing. The conversation reminded me that I hadn't finished this powerful and lovely short story collection by Keegan, despite its having sat on my bedside table as a half-read reminder for months while library books became due and my e-book backlog grew.

Keegan also has a new novel (published this week) that I'm excited to read. Keegan Keegan Keegan!

That's the way it is in our house, everybody knowing things, but pretending they don't.

In just a few of the stories of Keegan's acclaimed debut, Antarctica, a young wife leaves town to experience being with a man other than her husband; a Harvard student endures humiliation from his father on his graduation day; and a couple endures the deepest grief as one implodes and the other reaches out desperately to connect.

Keegan's settings span from the South to rural Ireland; her characters sometimes face crushing loss or teeter on the precipice of disaster. A few small moments change everything; a dance, a look, a careless word, a cruel reminder. Judgment fails; unforeseen repercussions shift lives; grief is borne; and temptation, tragedy, and punishment all play out in unexpected ways or in versions of redemption.

Antarctica showcases Keegan's masterful ability to distill varied lives into seemingly small moments, and I was riveted.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Click here to read my rave reviews of Claire Keegan's Foster and Small Things Like These. So Late in the Day is her most recent novel; please stay tuned for that Bossy review.

If you like short stories, you might also be interested the books on my Greedy Reading List Six Short Story Collections to Wow You.


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