A review by redwrapped
Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

dark reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


 Bill Furlong is one of the best men in fiction I have read lately, because he is not seeking power, or authority, or trying to sweep away what he does not want to see or accept. He is proud of his daughters and values his wife. He works hard to support them, but questions whether it is enough. He is, essentially, just a decent, hardworking man who has been forming resentment over the state of his town and the financial trouble most people had fallen into. A couple of days before Christmas 1985, he is confronted by the truth when he discovers an abused girl that has run away from the local Magdalene Laundry and brings her back, forcing him to reckon with his own morality and how easily she could be his mother or his daughters.

This is a slow-burning but trim novella, but it packs quite the punch between the historical context and the questions of morality and the inheritance of generational stigma and trauma.