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Summary

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him - and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

The long-awaited new work from the author of Foster, Small Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.

©2021 Claire Keegan (P)2021 Faber & Faber Ltd.

Critic reviews

"This is a tale of courage and compassion, of good sons and vulnerable young mothers. Absolutely beautiful." (Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain - winner of the Booker Prize 2020)

"[Claire Keegan] creates luminous effects with spare material, so every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion." (Hilary Mantel)

What listeners say about Small Things Like These

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  • Overall
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Stunning

This really is extraordinary. A novella of incredible penetration of a period in Ireland when we were lacking such a basic empathy towards some women and girls. She inhabits a small story within that lack of empathy and it is very stirring. Beautifully read too. Brilliant.

5 people found this helpful

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At last!! A novel by Claire Keegan :)

I've waited ages for this, and I listened in one go. However, I am left with the feeling that I should have bought the paper copy and 'consumed' the story the usual way I've done with CK's shorter works. I think the story would have made a bigger impact on me if I had.

This is essentially a story about the private goings-on inside a thoughtful man's head - hearing this all spoken aloud just doesn't seem right. Maybe some stories are best inhabited silently. If so, this is one of them.

Additionally and unfortunately, there are some issues with the audio which really didn't help - and the final chapter in particular could do with a proof listen for pick-ups 🥴



5 people found this helpful

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too Short

loved it. Well written. was just settling in to the story when it came to an abrupt end. left ne wanting more.

2 people found this helpful

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if i could score this book 6 I would

this book will stay with you for ever, for so many different reasons. So cleverly written, a story that makes you want to find out more. this is my top read of 2021.

2 people found this helpful

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review

liked the story but found it ferry short ,, surprised when book ended at end of chapter 7,,, feel there is another book to be written about what happens next

1 person found this helpful

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A Good Man

Not the usual sad story of the Magdalene laundries which has been told many times. The very human aspect of this beautifully written novella makes it special. Excellent narration

1 person found this helpful

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A story to remember

A sensitive story, beautifully written, a spiritual note for us all to learn from. Nostalgic, sad, readable and recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful, understated, poignant

I have just finished listening to the audio of this novella. It’s a beautiful, understated, poignant story. The blurb describes it as a story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness. The narrator, Aidan Kelly, was just perfect for it. The story is told in third person but with only one viewpoint throughout, which was skilfully maintained. That one character, Bill Furlong, coal merchant, stands out like a three dimensional figure against the background of the location and more subtly (but totally real) drawn characters who surround him. The story nudges against the scandal of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, gently and devastatingly. The kind of book that you remember and are influenced by. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

I really enjoyed this story the characters where potrayed so well I will be purchasing more from this author

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Expecting more

Narrator was excellent
Felt there was more to come
Excellent depiction of old Ireland.

1 person found this helpful