Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Foster" by Claire Keegan

"Foster" by Claire Keegan (2010, 12 pages)

Resources for the Week

Day Five
The Irish Short Story in 21th Century
Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan (1968-County Wichlou, Ireland), along with Anne Enright,  has a very good claim to be considered one of the future stars of the Irish short story.   One reason I think the Irish short story is such a rich field is that the bar has been set very high.    Keegan has won a large number of prestigious Irish literary awards.    She attended college in the USA at Loyola University in New Orleans then returned home.   She has taught at universities and offers creative writing workshops.   Se has published two collection of short stories.

"Foster' (published in The New Yorker February 2010) won the David Byrnes Irish Writing Award for 2009.   This award, with a 25,000 pound prize, is sponsored by the Irish Times.  (In 2008 there were 1100 entries, Anne Enright won).   

"Foster" is a beautifully written story.   It is set in rural Ireland.    As I have
seen before in the stories this week,  Keegan makes sure she sets the story in an exact  place in Ireland using very Irish place names.   The word order in the speech of people in the stories I have read often seems to be somehow "out of order".    This gives the conversations a special quality I really like.

"Foster" is about  a girl from a family that has fallen difficult times.   They cope with it by dropping their daughter off with a wealthier relative and his wife, for an indefinite period.   Sadly they never seem to tell the girl what the plans are and the father just leaves her without a word of good bye or an idea when he will be back for her.    Her host family are wonderful caring people that I slowly grew to like, as did the girl.   All of the emotions are very under played.    There is a lot in these 12 pages about family ties, about growing up, and about life in rural Ireland.    The end is very interesting and brings up a lot of ethical issues around parenting.  I recommend it without reservations.   I am not ready yet to say   if I like her story or those I read by Enright best. I hope to read more stories by both writers this year.
"Hello, Claire, Welcome to my party, and who
let that cat in looks like a shape shifter to me"

You can read "Foster" online here.

If you want to participate in Irish Short Story  Week just read and post on any short story by an Irish author and leave me a comment.   At the end of the week I will do a master post with all the links.   

Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestion you may have.   

"Him I am new here, you will see more
of me"-Rupreket
 Mel u


Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thank you very much for this lovely introduction to Claire Keegan. You're right about the word order and tone - you can't help but hear the Irish accent in there! A writer I will look out for.

JoAnn said...

I was just introduced to Claire Keegan over at DS's blog! Look forward to reading this story.

Unknown said...

what a beautiful story!

ds said...

Oh, let's call this bloggy synchronicity. Thank you for filling in the gaps in Keegan's biography. (I've only got a novel by Enright, so no danger there, but I see Edna O'Brien & Elizabeth Bowen in your pantheon of women writers, so I'll stay away from them--love 'em both).
Sounds like a wonderful, and typical, story. Thank you for sharing it!