Cover Image: So Late in the Day

So Late in the Day

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Member Reviews

Claire Keegan has the preternatural ability to succinctly cut through facades and expose the sinew beneath appearance--relationships, trust, loneliness, lust, misogyny, motivation. In each of these stories, she explores vast themes in the simple landscapes of the everyday through searing, original observations that linger and build with time. Upon the completion of reading her stories, one is left questioning how to fill the emptiness of the end and does so by considering the delicate and thought-provoking nature of her prose.

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Three pitch-perfect short stories: 'So Late In The Day', 'The Long and Painful Death' and 'Antarctica', with the common underlying theme of relations between women and men. The writing is just superb. I don't know how Keegan manages, but she draws me in in just two pages.

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Claire Keegan can do no wrong. Her writing is perfect for short periods of time where you can sit and reflect. True taken to evoke feeling in such short stories.

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I'm a big fan of Keegan and I would recommend this book other fans of her work. She has an economy of style and words that make her prose read more like poetry, so it is no surprise that this triptych works the same way.

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Will still read anything Keegan publishes, but none of this triptych manages to pack the same sense of psychological and emotional expansiveness into their brief page counts as Small Things Like These and, especially, Foster. The title story even feels a little — hate to say it — cheap in its foundational of pat generalities. There are still plenty of true Keegan moments of keen insight and gentle devastation in these pages, but there's a reason beyond brevity, methinks, that these stories are being packaged together rather than allowing them to stand on their own.

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Claire Keegan is a master of her art and I really enjoyed this thank you - I love the brevity of her writing and also the description/ atmospehere

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The final story in this collection is so misogynistic that it reminded me of other regressive works such as Looking for Mr. Goodbar and the movie Dressed to kill. All of the women in the three stories are harrods but the nastiness of the final story really turned me off. Why a woman today would sex shame another woman is beyond my understanding.

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This is the first work of Claire Keegan I've read, and I want to thank the publisher for granting me this eARC. The short story format pulled me right out of my reading slump. I've ordered her other book and can't wait to read that!

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So Late in the Day
By Claire Keegan

Three stories that explores on what could have been in a relationship! Written about a very short time in the character’s life, the author solely relies on character building than fast actions. It’s so natural! The words chosen are so precise that the author is not giving you all details and sometimes you may need to reread to understand nuances (which I loved)

How weight of expectations from one can change the course of a relationship to a completely different path is the theme explained in all three stories. I don’t want to giveaway a lot of details but this book is worth reading.

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I read this months ago and somehow forgot that I hadn't reviewed!

I love Claire Keegan. And, I loved this book.
It wasn't quite as good as Small Days Like These, but still really great.

4.5/5

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Claire Keegan can really do no wrong. Her incredible prose creates stories that are so captivating in such few words.

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A big thank-you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for giving me a copy of this book for an unbiased review.

4/5 - Really liked it.

Having read the titular story earlier on in the year (and fallen in love with Claire Keegan’s prose), I was excited to read this collection of three stories. Claire Keegan has a unique writing style which appeals to me greatly - it is straightforward and honest, with a stark beauty to its candour. The stories require the reader to digest them slowly, sentence by sentence, and leave one feeling deeply satisfied yet unable to dislodge the story from one’s conscious. The characters, though mere flashes upon the pages, leave deep imprints within the reader’s mind. The brevity of her stories also makes the subjects that Keegan chooses (and manages) to tackle all the more impressive - these three short stories deal with everything from outdated notions of femininity to the space that women are free to occupy within life and relationships and art to the creation of art to freedom to violence.

Claire Keegan is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read more by her.

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It has been a joy to read the three stories from Claire Keegan included in So Late in the Day, a new collection which will certainly serve as a wonderful introduction for short story readers new to her. All have been in print before, most recently the titled story in The New Yorker in 2022. The Long and Painful Death is from my personal favorite collection, Walk the Blue Fields, while Antarctica is from the earlier collection of the same name. While it was a joy for me to read them because of her skill, that’s not to say that the lives of her characters are similarly joyful.

Each story reveals Keegan’s eye for both natural and human life, how she opens them up for her readers, putting all of her descriptions into often perfect language. Each story delves into an aspect of relationships between men and women, individuals and their own self knowledge, how we survive (hopefully) the decisions we make. Her people have very human flaws, varying insight, and you will think about them after each story ends because each is so real.

I found this an enjoyable return to the two stories I’d read previously and very much enjoyed reading her latest story, So Late in the Day, the ultimately sad story of Cathal’s Friday July 29th. Sad in many ways. An Irish story.

This would be a nice introduction to Keegan’s work or even a “pick-me-up” for a reader like me who enjoys a refresher. Recommended along with all of Keegan’s work.

Thank you to Grove Press/Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for a copy of this book

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A little background:
Claire Keegan’s works of fiction are internationally acclaimed and have been translated into thirty languages. Antarctica won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Walk the Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize for the finest collection of stories published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrnes Award—the world’s richest prize for a short story. Small Things Like These was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. It won the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and The Kerry Prize for Irish Novel of the Year. She was awarded Woman of the Year for Literature in Ireland, 2022, and Author of the Year, 2023.

And yet her books are short--she packs wallops in paragraphs.

Is it true, as she says, that 80% of Irish farmers would be in favour of legal, prenuptial agreements which would prevent their wives having any rights to their land? That explains the behavors of all three male characters in the stories of being clueless, unkind and cruel? The men weren't portrayed so badly in Small Things Like These and Foster. Can you imagine having a meal purchased and cooked for you, and then quibbling because the organic cherries cost a bit more? And then he has the classic sour grapes later remembering the tart as burnt crust and raw in the middle. Of course he never cooked a single item in the courtship and was glad when he didn't have to wash dishes after ordering Chinese takeaway.

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Thanks to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an electronic ARC.

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I finished this about two months ago and I still think about the last story at least once a week. Keegan's writing is sublime and I will read anything she puts out at this point.

Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Press for the advanced copy.

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I’ve read the latest hit a few months ago from Claire Keegan, the Booker Prize nominated Small Things Like These and that was fantastic. Now this one is so beautiful that I was awestruck for a while.

Keegan does a very good job in the abbreviated form. The intricacy of relationships between men and women is examined in this upcoming collection of three of her previously published short stories, "So Late in the Day," "The Long and Painful Death," and "Antarctica." Every character in these tales yearns for freedom, camaraderie, or perhaps a fleeting personal connection. And Keegan pays exquisite attention to detail as he deftly subverts the expectations of these individuals.

Her words are deliberate without being pretentious. It's enjoyable to read Keegan's ability to write concisely about a character's emotional condition or their physical surroundings. She also does such a natural job of capturing Irish speech and dialect.

These were really wonderful stories. Without a doubt, I would read them again. Fans of Keegan's work should also find a lot to like in this succinct but impactful collection. All I could have asked for was more stories!

Thank you NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for this wonderful ARC.

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So Late In The Day

Claire Keegan

Just wonderful. This woman is one of Ireland’s greatest living writers and everyone should read every work she has written. I’ve bought the hardback version for my Books That I Loved Shelf and have bought copies to give as gifts as well. I love her. Long may she keep sharing her art with the world.

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Short and subtle, each of the three stories here showcase quiet writing that has quite the impact. I only wish these stories were longer, complete, but that’s the beauty of the brevity of them - they leave you wondering, drawing your own conclusions as to what happens next.

Thanks to Grove Press and NetGalley for the ARC.

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In this book we have three different stories, three stories that have common ground in terms of people’s behavior. These three short stories, shorter than “Small Things Like These” and “Foster” are focused on the dynamics between man and woman, male and female, provoking the reader to think deeper in every single case and reflect on today’s society. I think it’s safe to say that Claire Keegan is now one of my favourite authors. The wonders she does with short length stories like these, is incredible. With her simple yet appealing writing style, she puts a subject under her microscope and brings it forward enough for everyone to see.



The first story of this book is the one that we read in the title, “So Late in the Day”. Here we meet Cathal, who faces a long weekend as his mind agitates over a woman with whom he could have spent his life, had he behaved differently. We get to know about him and about the fact that he was about to get married, but his bride-to-be abandoned him. As the story progresses and we g0 through Cathal’s memories of their lives together, we realize that he is not the innocent person we’d thought him to be, in the beginning of the story. We meet him at the office, where he tries to avoid everyone. He goes in such length so as to drink his coffee without sugar, only so that he does not have to engage in conversation with a colleague. He doesn’t want to be pitied. But when his younger in age boss, tells him to leave early for the day, he seizes the opportunity and runs through the stairs in a hurry.

Soon we get to know how he met Sabine and how their relationship evolved. As he reflects on their relationship, we can see what he did wrong and that’s when he realizes too, that if he was a better person towards Sabine, he would not have lost her. They would still be together. But he was acting like his father and like any other man, thinking only about himself.

We only see Cathal’s view on this one and we meet Sabine only through his eyes and the dialogs he recalls. But even that is enough. It is clear that by the end of the story, the hero realizes that his behaviour towards women is what cost him his loneliness.



The second story is called “The Long and Painful Death” and this time the protagonist is a woman. she is an author that decides to live for a few days that the Irish House that the German author Heinrich Böll used to live on Achill Island. There, enjoying the same view as the great author had enjoyed in the past, she is determined to focus and progress on her story. However, her plans are being interrupted by a man who, German as he is, believes he has a better reason to be in Böll’s cottage, than that woman ever would. Better yet, because he is a man! He kind of invites himself to visit the cottage at a time that suites him best, but is rather uncomfortable for the woman. His visit is set for the middle of her day, when should would have been writing for hours. So it makes sense that she is rather irritated by this visit, going to some length to be hospitable and polite, only for the visitor to think himself entitled to all she had to give up or prepare for his visit.

It’s a very good example of a case where men believe themselves to be better or superior to women. The have certain expectations and when the women try to meet them out of politeness, they get scolded. I also really enjoyed the landscape as Keegan described it in this story. It made me feel I was actually there.



The third and last story in this book is called “Antarctica”. This one is the darkest of the three stores in the book and one for which I cannot say much, so as to avoid spoilers. In this story, a married woman plans a weekend trip in the city in order to buy Christmas gifts for the family. At least this is how she justifies the trip to the city. What she really want to to, is to experience how it feels to sleep with a man, other than her husband. What started as a mere curiosity ends up really badly. The story is short, shorter than tge previous two, however, the feelings it evokes are strong.

Thank you to NetGalley & Grove Atlantic for an advance copy of this book. The views expressed are my personal and honest opinion.

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Luminous writing describes these short stories, put together in a short book titled "So Late In The Day". These stories share a common theme of the differences between men and women, and how some men use and abuse the women in their lives. I found the stories to be both haunting and sad, but also beautiful. Keegan's descriptions of her native Ireland are like painting a picture with words, whether she is describing the many colors of he sky and the sea, or the bright white hen and purple fuchsia one of the characters encounters during a walk. The first story, also the title of the collection is about a man who wanted a women only if he didn't have to give anything back. Cathal met the beautiful French woman Sabine and was drawn to her personality, cooking and beauty. But after asking him to pay for a bunch of cherries she was going to make into a tart, he realized that she might sometimes expect him to treat (she had previously paid for all of their food). When Sabine attempts to move in he is horrified to learn that she expects to bring clothing and a few possessions to his home. After she leaves, he is partly relieved but also lonely and realizes he may have missed his chance.

The second story, "The Long and Painful Death:" was my favorite; a woman is awarded a writer's residency in a famous writer's cottage. She has trouble knowing where to start so spends some time walking, swimming and enjoying the solitude. Then an angry German professor shows up at her door, demanding to know why she was awarded this residency and insisting she is a waste of resources. The woman gets revenge on the professor in the most delicious way. The last story is "Antartica" and it is a bleak study of a wife and mother who feels trapped in her life. She decides to go the city for weekend, intending to perhaps meet a man for a one night stand, but finds herself in a dangerous spot. I will reed anything this author writes and thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC in exchange for a review.

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