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


At just 128 pages, this short story packs a punch. The reader is dropped into the life of Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant. We are given the perfect amount of context to understand his story and the cultural setting in which this story takes place. Set in 1985 Ireland, this book deals with the complicit silence surrounding the Magdalene Laundries. It has an unmistakably Irish narrative style, with lots of colloquialisms and turns of phrase. The conversational tone makes for very easy reading, which I think is necessary in tackling such a  harrowing topic.

My only critique lies in the fact I wished it had been just a smidge longer. That is the nature of short stories, they are…short. However, I would have liked to know a little bit more about what happens to the characters in the end. Perhaps, the reaction of Furlong’s family? It just felt unfinished, ever so slightly.

That being said, this has been a deeply impactful read and my desire to know more is a testament to Claire Keegan’s writing. A captivating and poignant story.

Thank you NetGalley & Publishers Faber & Faber for my gifted copy.