Cover Image: So Late in the Day

So Late in the Day

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Member Reviews

Thank you to #NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC.

This is only the second book by Claire Keegan that I read, but it definitely won't be the last.

These three stories explore themes such as gender roles, love, lust and betrayal, and Keegan writes with such a beautiful and poignant language that you find yourself completely transported into the world of the characters.

Even though I do generally enjoy short fiction - Keegan is one writer where I would wish for more pages. These stories will stay with me for a long time.

"Down on the lawns, some people were out sunbathing and there were children, and beds plump with flowers; so much of life carrying smoothly on, despite the tangle of human upsets and the knowledge of how everything must end."

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From the first time I read a story by Claire Keegan, I knew I wanted to read more by her. She writes quiet, impactful and thought provoking stories that pull me in from the beginning, hold me through the end because I simply have to know what happens to her characters. She writes stories that have stayed with me.

I read the first and title story in this short collection as a stand alone published previously in the New Yorker . A character study of a man named Cathal, who made me angry, yet made me feel sorry for him at the same time. He’s a man I wouldn’t want to be married to. The middle story “The Long and Painful Death” is my favorite of the three. An introspective portrayal of a young woman writer coming into her own. Interesting to see how the process of her writing plays out. “Antarctica” is the final story of a woman wanting to escape a bit from her mundane life as a wife and mother. An ending I wasn’t expecting!

Claire Keegan is a master at writing character studies and it is pretty amazing how we can come to intimately know her characters in such short fiction. Besides this collection, I’ve read a couple of other stories and her novella Foster, which is my favorite. All are beautifully written.

I received a copy of this from Grove Press through NetGalley and Edelweiss.

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Anything written by Claire Keegan is to be celebrated, in my opinion, and these short stories do not disappoint. The prose is crisp and surprising, and yet it is the minutiae of everyday life that is her recurring theme. Although nothing much happens, the reader is drawn into the story, and it is hard to look away. Looking away is what I would like to have done in the first and last of these stories; such was the nature of the misogyny.

In 'So Late in the Day', the misogyny is presented from the male gaze and is all the more tragic for that; Antartica' from the female perspective is chilling as realisation dawns on the protagonist. The fact that these books are set in the present, unlike her previous work, makes them all the more horrific.

There is a tragic undercurrent to all the work I have read by Keegan - and she can write this so well. I'm left wondering how her prose would work in a more positive story.


Thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for the ARC

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So Late in the Day is a collection of three short stories. The first one is about an Irish man and his mundane life until he finds a woman who is willing to marry him. The second story is about a woman living in a house where a Nobel Prize of Literature used to live and write his work but she knows very little about him. The third, it's about a woman who fantasyzes about having an affair with a stranger and decides to act upon it. The twist at the end left me on edge.

My favorite story was the last one and I also enjoyed the second one. I really didn't care for the first one. I enjoyed the writing and the fact that I could read this book in one sitting.

Very worth the read.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for the e-arc.

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Keegan is a master of saying so much with such few words. Her writing is sharp and yet quiet and understated. So late in the day is a small book that comprises of three short stories that all explore toxic masculinity and gender dynamics. While I don’t think I could say I ‘liked’ all of the stories, there’s no doubt that Keegan had me eating out of the palm of her hand. I was completely *there* with each of the female characters and it’s truly masterful how she has captured the misogyny that is both familiar and feared by women everywhere.

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I received a copy of So Late in the Day from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first time that I’ve encountered Claire Keegan’s writings and these short stories. Each of these, although narrated by different people invite reflection on the role of women in their lives, the ability to question or break out of these roles, and the consequences both physical and social of doing so. The three stories follow different characters, each in distinct situations, one a mother and a wife, one, the fiancée of an office worker in the art field, and another, a writer looking to get some inspiration by visiting the home of Heinrich Boll. Each of these interact with the world differently, but there are common threads that unite the three stories. The stories are engaging and Keegan envelops the reader in the scenery of the story.

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I was so eager to read SO LATE IN THE DAY: Stories of Women and Men by Claire Keegan since I really enjoyed her other books Small Things Like These and Foster and I really enjoyed this book too! These three short stories explore relationships from marriage to infidelity to even violence. Keegan is definitely strong in short fiction and I’m thinking to read this book again. All three stories were excellent! If you enjoy short stories then definitely pick up this book!

Thank you to Grove Atlantic via NetGalley for my ARC!

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Unfortunately, I didn't realize this new collection by Keegan is comprised of three stories I've read previously, but I happily read them again anyway. A loose theme among them might be each narrator's relationship to others, but I could be stretching here. In So Late in the Day, Cathal is dealing with love and an aborted wedding. In The Long and Painful Death, the narrator is beginning her two weeks as writer in residence at the house of a Nobel Prize winner. In Antarctica, a happily married woman, desirous of cheating on her husband before she is too old, ends up in disastrous circumstances. As always, reading Keegan is a pleasure.

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I had previously read Claire Keegan’s novella Small Things Like These, so I knew I loved her writing. Even though I had high expectations, her three short stories in So Late in the Day were better than I expected.


I’ve only read one story by Chekhov but I can feel a strong affinity between these two writers. Taking the small moments of life and painting such a complex portrait of the human condition on so few pages.


There is an underlying feeling of unease and danger on Keegan’s pages. Death is inevitable; we are reminded of that by Keegan’s choice of prefacing the collection with part of the poem Aubade by Philip Larkin.


Misogyny, Irish culture, women and men, ownership and freedom, thought-provoking, uncomfortable, horrifying at times, and even though the pace is slow, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Do I dare say that Keegan is one of the greatest writers of the English language today? Yes, I do.

Thank you Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review. Will publish review on social media on publication date.

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Three quite short stories with some connective tissue around gender dynamics and male misbehaviour. I liked the title story the most of the bunch, but recommend all three for fans or those studying the structure of the short story.

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I really enjoyed Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These , so when I saw this collection of stories on NetGalley I had to give it a shot. And … meh. These stories weren't bad, but certainly none of them had the magic of the aforementioned novella.

I mean, don't get me wrong – Keegan is obviously a talented writer and her prose is lovely. And these stories really were fine, but I'll probably have forgotten all three within the month.

With that said, I think my favorite of the three was the title story, “So Late in the Day.” The flashback scenes with Cathal and Sabine were the best bits, and Cathal's cluelessness in these scenes was almost comical (in an exasperating sort of way).

“The Long and Painful Death” just made me want to take a solo vacation. A private retreat to a ocean view cottage sounds fantastic about right now. Otherwise, I guess I really didn't get it?

The final story, “Antarctica,” was probably my least favorite of the three. It was, however, the tale with the most unexpected subject matter and I absolutely did not see that ending coming.

Overall, this collection was decent but unmemorable. If you're a diehard fan of the author, though, you'll probably really enjoy these stories – the first two, at least, are very Keegan-ish.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Press for providing me with an advance copy of this book to review.

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Claire Keegan does it again with this gem of a short story 💎

Cathal lives in Arklow but commutes to Dublin City every day for work, where he ends up meeting Sabine, and they ultimately start a relationship. Now, in the future, Cathal reflects on the little events that sent their relationship in the wrong direction.

This story was a bit different to Keegan’s others that I’ve read, but it still had that familiar feeling that her writing brings. With small details of everyday life, Keegan has the ability to make us feel like a fly on the wall in even the most uncomfortable situations. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters in this story, but especially the main one. Cathal’s behaviour in his relationship and misogyny in general is clearly a product of his upbringing but that didn’t make it any more palatable. There is a flashback to his family around the dinner table as a teenager that made me so angry, but it was suitable to the story.

As always, if I see Claire Keegan, I will purchase!

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Claire Keegan writes about the minutiae of life in a way that makes it feel big, which makes her writing feel so real because so much of the time the little things can be what is really taking up much of our life and our life story. Her lyricism and descriptions make each story really enjoyable to read through, and no matter how unassuming a story starts you know you’ll always leave with something to takeaway and feeling as if there was a reason you were reading about the everyday mundanity.

In ‘So Late in The Day’, we’re taken into a relationship that’s infuriating to watch develop precisely because of how plausible the scenario seems. It touches on a sort of indifference to the pain you can cause someone in a relationship. From a not-very-romantic introduction to a relationship to the realization of how different being in a relationship actually is from how it was envisioned, I was thoroughly devastated on behalf of our main character while watching the story unfold.

**Thank you to Grove Atlantic and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review**

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Powerful little tales. I've just read one other Claire Keegan but I'm impressed. The gender dynamics are intriguing and horrifying. Reading these gives you a sense that it all could be happening in the house next door without you even being aware.

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This is the first book I've read by Claire Keegan and now I am eager to read her others -- I was really impressed by this short novel told in three stories. The writing is so lovely and I felt very connected to the characters in a short time -- which is so impressive in a short story.

In the first story, Cathal is dealing with the fall out of a big life change while reflecting on how different things recently were. In the second story, Sabine is getting to know a new place and house. And in the third story, an unnamed narrator has decided to cheat on her husband for the first time.

I loved the writing of these stories so much, the depth of the characters was great and I loved the descriptions of the places. Claire Keegan really sets a mood, and I felt very impacted by each story.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book!

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While I love Claire Keegan’s previous works, this one fell in the middle for me!

I did enjoy the variety of perspectives in these stories and the lack of care to these characters being likable when telling their stories. I really disliked all of the characters and yet I didn’t hate these stories. That, I think, says more about Claire Keegan’s writing to me than anything.

Three and a half seems like a great place to settle with these stories.

Thank you to Grove Atlantic, Grove Press and netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review!

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This has lots of helpful reviews already, so I'll just recommend it to short story fans.

I really appreciate the free copy for review!!

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Published by Grove Atlantic, 'So Late in the Day' comprises of three short stories about women, men, and the dymanics between them.

The first story - and my personal favourite - is “So Late in the Day”, where the protagonist, Cathal, reminiscences over his brief romance with a woman that he could not love. Favourite part of this story:

"You know what is at the heart of misogyny? [...] It's simply about not giving,' she said."

The second story - and my least favourite - is “The Long and Painful Death,” where a writer’s arrival at the seaside home of Heinrich Böll is disrupted by a retired academic, eager to impose his presence and opinions. Favourite part of this story:

"Do you think it's possible for poor people to be content?"

The third story is “Antarctica,” where a married woman travels out of town to sleep with another man. She does, and then time stops. Favourite part of this story: the anxiety build up.

Through her stories, Claire Keegan looks into the "could be" of human relationships, through searching for - and finding - the factor that eventually destroys them, be it the lack of generosity, the weight of expectation, or violence.

Huge thanks (and lots of love) to Grove Atlantic for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley.

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It's such a short book, but it packs a huge punch!
I feel like I can now understand why Claire Keegan has been called a master of the short form, especially with this one, since it's a short story collection

So Late in the Day is composed of three short stories (So Late in the Day, The Long and Painful Death, and Antarctica) that discuss women, misogyny, betrayal and toxic masculinity. This an exploration of ordinary women (and men) and it reads like an essay sometimes of the ways in which women still suffer at the hand of toxic masculinity. Keegan's writing style is very succinct and feels simple to the point of brilliance. I can't wait to read Claire Keegan's other books!

Thank you so much to Grove Press and NetGalley for this ARC!

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I always wanted to read a book in one sitting and did so with this one, only 128 pages. I hadn't read anything before by Claire Keegan, but have heard a lot about her in the past year with the publications of her short novels and look forward to reading those next.

This book contained 3 short stories and the tone of each was foreboding, with the last story Antarctica being the most disturbing and leaving me with my heart pounding.

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