Walk the Blue Fields
Walk the Blue Fields (Faber)
Antarctica, Claire Keegan’s 1999 debut collection of short stories, brought her acclaim as one of the brightest new talents on the Irish literary scene. It might have been eight years in the making, but this follow-up will surely see more good notices arrive for her. At a little over 150 pages, Keegan is obviously not the most prolific of authors. Yet, while her work isn’t characterised by volume, there’s a precise, methodical sense of place and self here, as her words describe each character and their setting in evocative detail.
It’s that which sets her apart; while the stories may be criticised for falling into certain clichéd scenarios (farm girl abused by her father emigrates to America; priest ponders his affair with a woman he’s just married off), Keegan’s evocative prose takes you so far within each story that your senses buzz afresh at them.