The New York Times
Walk the Blue Fieldsby Claire Keegan
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/i>/i>/i>
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 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.
The New York Times
Seven foreboding tales from Keegan (Antarctica) examine family, buried secrets and forbidden love in contemporary rural Ireland. In the title story, a priest questions his calling as he performs the wedding ceremony of a girl he once loved; after marrying her off to a lesser man, laments that "two people hardly ever want the same thing at any given point in life." "The Forester's Daughter" follows a tragic chain of events prompted by a woman who agrees to marry against her better instincts "because if she said no, the question might never be asked of her again." The final and strongest story centers on Margaret Flusk, a superstitious woman retreating from a personal tragedy into the farmhouse of her recently deceased cousin, who was a priest, and with whom she shared an abiding love. Word of her mysterious ability to heal soon gets out to the parish, breaking her isolation decisively. The more whimsical narratives fall a little flat (they're also brief), but in the longer, stronger pieces, Keegan's poetic prose, spot-on dialogue and well paced plot twists keep the pages turning through sadness, grief, rage and compromise. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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