Novellas are the perfect choice when you feel like something more than a magazine but without the heft and commitment of a full-blown novel. They’re easily digested in a few sittings, or a single one if you have a rainy arvo on your hands. They’re also a great taster if you’re not familiar with an author; it can make you seek out the rest of their ouvre, as I now will with Claire Keegan, such was the excellence of this little number.
The author’s portrayal of its main protagonist, coal and timber merchant Bill Furlong, is so utterly beautiful, believable and poignant.
An ordinary man with an ordinary family, trying to make ends meet in an Irish town in the mid-80s, Furlong unexpectedly finds himself in the position to make a stand: to act on what his heart tells him to do is right - even if it means incurring the wrath of the Church, with its steely grip on the local community.
Will the memory of influential figures in his upbringing, coupled with the collision of past and present, embolden him?
Reviewer: Stacey Anyan
Allen & Unwin