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"The best stories here are so textured and moving, so universal but utterly distinctive, that it’s easy to imagine readers savoring them many years from now. And to imagine critics, far in the future, deploying lofty new terms to explain what it is that makes Keegan’s fiction work.”Maud Newton, The New York Times Book Review
Walk the Blue Fields
978-0-8021-7049-1 • $14.95 • Paperback • July 2008
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
“Keegan is that rarest of writerssomeone I will always want to read.”Richard Ford, Best Books of 2007 pick in The Irish Times
“Perfect short stories . . . flawless structure . . . What makes this collection a particular joy is the run and pleasure of the language.”Anne Enright, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, The Guardian
Claire Keegan’s brilliant debut collection, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, and earned her resounding accolades on both sides of the Atlantic. Now she has delivered her next, much-anticipated book, Walk the Blue Fields, an unforgettable array of quietly wrenching stories about despair and desire in the timeless world of modern-day Ireland.
In stories brimming with Gothic shadows and ancient hurts, Claire Keegan tells of “a rural world of silent men and wild women who, for the most part, make bad marriages, and vivid, uncomprehending children” (Anne Enright, The Guardian). In the never-before-published story “The Long and Painful Death,” a writer awarded a stay to work in Heinrich Böll’s old cottage has her peace interrupted by an unwelcome intruder, whose ulterior motives only emerge as the night progresses. In the title story, a priest waits at the altar to perform a marriage and, during the ceremony and the festivities that follow, battles his memories of a love affair with the bride that led him to question all to which he has dedicated his life; later that night, he finds an unlikely answer in the magical healing powers of a seer.
A masterful portrait of a country wrestling with its past and of individuals eking out their futures, Walk the Blue Fields is a breathtaking collection from one of Ireland’s greatest talents, and a resounding articulation of all the yearnings of the human heart.
“These stories are pure magic. They add, using grace, intelligence and an extraordinary ear for rhythm, to the distinguished tradition of the Irish short story. They deal with Ireland now, but have a sort of timeless edge to them, making Claire Keegan both an original and a canonical presence in Irish fiction.” Colm Tóibín, author of The Master and Mothers and Sons