Monday, 11 October 2010

Book of the Week - Claire Keegan, Foster

Foster is a first novella from Claire Keegan, an accomplished writer of short stories.  If she can successfully make the transition to writing full length novels in the future, this may prove to be a very collectable book. Keegan was born in 1968 and grew up on a farm in Wicklow, the youngest of a large Catholic family. She travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana when she was seventeen and studied English and Political Science at Loyola University. She returned to Ireland in 1992. She started writing in 1994 and lived for a year in Cardiff, taking an MA in Creative Writing and teaching undergraduates for a year at the University of Wales. Her first collection of short stories, Antarctica, was completed in 1998 and was awarded the Rooney Prize for Literature. Her second short story collection, Walk the Blue Fields, was published in 2007 and won her the 2008 Edge Hill Prize for Short Stories. She currently lives in County Louth, Ireland.

Unusually for a novella, Foster has attracted very positive reviews from a number of the major broadsheets. It is published both in hardcover and paperback, with the print run of the former likely to be fairly modest. In addition, there is an edition of 90 copies signed by the author in yellow cloth boards, contained in a grey cloth covered slipcase.

"A small girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm in rural Ireland, without knowing when she will return home. In the strangers’ house, she finds a warmth and affection she has not known before and slowly begins to blossom in their care. And then a secret is revealed and suddenly, she realizes how fragile her idyll is. Winner of the Davy Byrnes Memorial Prize, Foster is now published in a revised and expanded version. Beautiful, sad and eerie, it is a story of astonishing emotional depth, showcasing Claire Keegan’s great accomplishment and talent."

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