Foster by Claire Keegan

I got a little turned off to literary short fiction when I read Cathedral by Raymond Carver. That book is highly rated, but the stories just didn’t click with me. Somewhere along the way I was referred to Foster by Claire Keegan. I felt like it might be time to give that a go, but I was hesitant due to my experience with Carver. I need not have been concerned.

Foster pulled me in from the beginning and would not let me or my heart go. It tells the story of a young girl in rural Ireland whose mother is expecting yet another baby. As she approaches delivering that baby, her father takes her to neighbors to watch over her to give her mother a break. At first, the girl is nervous and scared, not knowing what to expect. Over their short time together, both the her foster parents and she grow close until, after the new sibling is born, she has to return home.

The atmosphere is overpowering in this story. I really felt as if I was there. I was drawn into the rural Irish community as well as the smaller world of the little girl who is telling the story. There is quite a contrast between the life she lives in her parents’ home and her short time with her foster parents. But there is no outward judgment one way or the other. Instead the author allows the characters and their feelings and emotions to communicate the complicated world of adults as experienced by a young girl.

My rating: 5/5

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