Cover Image: So Late in the Day

So Late in the Day

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for this e-ARC!

So Late In The Day is a masterfully curated collection of stories that explore interpersonal depths and the meaningfulness of life. Each story presents a highly detailed and complex conjunction of emotions and Keegan is an expert at capturing the deeply isolating experience that is life.
While The Long And Painful Death stands out the most, all three stories make for a wonderfully pleasant and engaging read. Keegan's writing is languid and gleams with the poise of a narrator all too aware of how to keep the audience coming back for more.

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Claire Keegan’s short story collection, “late in the day”, is very thought provoking and introspective. I found myself pondering the purpose of life and the position that women hold in society. While these stories reflect a lot of individuals experiences in life, I found it slightly sad and hard to read some of them.

“So late in the day” is the first novel, focusing Cathal, a man who lost his fiancé and now is in a self reflective state reminiscing on life and his choices. This short story was difficult for me to really lose myself in just because this is the experiences of so many women in the world. And I suppose that’s the purpose of this story, to prompt us to think about gender and the preconceived ideas prescribed to women and their life.

“The long and painful death” focuses on a woman and her experience traveling to stay at the böll house for a writing retreat. She interacts with a self important rude German man, and finds inspiration for her story.

“Antartica” is about a woman leaving her family for a weekend to find a short fling. Little does she know she is walking into the grasp of a scary predator who will do anything to keep her. As a young woman, this story was the hardest for me to read. This woman just wanted a fling- and although I wouldn’t have don’t it, - she didn’t ask to be held against her will and potentially killed for wanting a one night stand. Unfortunately this is the fate for countless women who find themselves victim to the will of a stronger man. This is so real and so sad that it exists.

Overall it’s very well written, and I could envision these stories happening in real life. The characters were very well developed, and I think we all know at least one of them in real life. I didn’t super enjoy any of them just because it was kinda depressing for me, but I appreciate having been made to think critically about life and being a woman.

Thanks to netgalley for being given an advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Compulsively readable. The writing flows and I sped through it in a day. The chosen stories work well as a collection and support each other thematically.

Here are my reviews for each story and a rating out of ten.

So Late in the Day 8/10:
The alternating timeline was effective and the chapters made it easier to read. The start was a bit weak, a bit forgettable. By then end, I couldn't remember the story's intro or why it was relevant. A satisfying ending.

The Long and Painful Death 8/10:
I loved the setting of the seaside house. Impressed by how naturally character details were revealed. Like the previous story, a weak introduction that didn't hook me, but I loved how the story unfolded and it's conclusion.

Antarctica 10/10:
Perfect! Very strong introduction that grabbed me from the first line and did not let go. I liked the ending, but I didn't love it. Strong dialogue that was used well and sounded snappy.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an ARC of this short book by Claire Keegan.
Claire Keegan is a wonder. She is, in my opinion, up there with great short story writers like George Saunders and Kelly Link.
These three stories all address the relationship between men and women. I understand that they are expanded versions of earlier works. They seem perfect to me and I wouldn't want to go back and read the original. There is a melancholy to all of them that builds throughout. The dialogue is pitch-perfect for today's people. Keegan doesn't force endings that would make a reader happy. The endings are what they are and leave us thinking for a long time.
I will be reading this beautiful book many times.
I hope other readers do too.

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I went into this book completely blind, which was a fun experience. It is made up of three short stories, all three exploring a woman being constrained by a man in different ways. Keegan’s writing is brilliant and I devoured it in one sitting. I particularly liked the first story, as it was more nuanced and I felt I know several men who would have similar internal dialogues to the main male character (ick). These stories are not light, and the third is particularly dark. I would highly recommend this for some very well written, thought-provoking feminist stories.

Thank you Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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I don't frequently give 5 star reviews, but this book is fantastic. I've read several of Keegan's novellas and enjoyed each of them, but I found these short stories to be more personal and relatable. Each story centers around a woman navigating her place in the world despite the constraints of men. The stories are written to be savored-the events unfold slowly, layer by layer, but simultaneously build to deep plots. The writing felt akin to Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy, though I felt a stronger connection to the women in these stories. This is a book I will read again and again.

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Claire Keegan is brilliant. Her writing is captivating and her characters so real. I find I read a paragraph over and over because I just can't get enough. Her writing is sparse and reminds the reader it doesn't take many words to convey a feeling, to connect to a character. These stories are poignant and take my breath away.

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I wasn’t able to vibe with these stories. Out of all the stories I was able to follow Antarctica the best because there was only two people conversing in the story. I found myself searching for what the narrative of the other stories was trying to tell me. I appreciate receiving this arc but I think stories this short aren’t for me because I’m not able to be in the narrative long enough to enjoy what’s happening.

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Claire Keegan is always a must read for me, so I was very excited to see not one, but three short stories from her! To be honest, I lost a bit of interest as the stories went on, but I think that’s just because I enjoyed “So Late in the Day” more than “The Long and Painful Death” and “Antartica”. (Also, “So Late in the Day” isn’t quite as sad or shocking as the other two!) These stories are very quick reads, but definitely heavy and emotional.

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Thank you to Grove Atlantic and Netgalley for this E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"So Late in the Day" was my first Claire Keegan work; I've heard about this author's other works such as "Small Things Like These" and "Foster", so it was a pleasant surprise to see her latest work on Netgalley.

At barely over one hundred pages, this was a quick read. The collection was comprised of three short stories, the central focus being on the relationships between different sets of men and women. Keegan's insights into everyday sexism and misogyny were clear, concise, and poignant. Additionally, there was a thru-line of feminine escapism in their many forms, which wound up being the most intriguing bit for me.

Overall, a solid trio of short stories.

(The third story, Antarctica, was my favorite.)

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I consider Keegan’s two short novels Foster and Small Things Like These to be small masterpieces, and so was keen to read this collection of short stories. Sadly they did not live up to my expectations. Although well written, I didn’t find them particularly original, and in fact one of them was surprisingly predictable. Her particular skills are in evidence but strangely toned down and lacking in the nuance and intensity I so enjoyed in the novels. All three of these stories have been published before and I suspect the publisher has brought this volume out now to cash in on her current renown. Unfortunately they don’t show Keegan at her best and I was disappointed.

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He likes her, fell in love, and asked to marry her. She gave her life, and he starts complaining; about every itty bitty, trivial details.
A man, with his massive audacity, complains to a woman on how she should live her life.
And there's Antartica. Woman, went on vacation, planned to cheat on her husband, and got what she deserved.

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Claire Keegan has been on my radar for some months now, and I finally took the plunge with this short collection of stories. Each of the three stories in this collection explores an aspect of what can pass between men and women; the interpersonal, the romantic, the intellectual. The benefit of these stories is that you feel the requisite emotion, be it cringe, frustration, fear, selfishness, curiosity, or ignorance, only briefly, but strongly. Keegan delivers some well-crafted sentences and excellent word choice so that you see the scenes take shape in your mind, and she sets the stories up well overall so that you get the feeling that you know these characters in only a few pages.

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3.5 stars. This trio of short stories was a quick, interesting read, but they didn't all work equally well for me. I liked the second story best -- it was very atmospheric. The first story was interesting and thoughtful. The last story was the one I liked the least, because of its strange ending. On the whole, though, I really like Keegan's writing: it's detailed and evokes a definite, distinct atmosphere in each of the stories. I also like how the first and third stories mirrored each other in certain ways, with the second story a more neutral in-between.

Thanks to Netgalley for the e-ARC.

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So Late in the Day, a book with 3 short stories. They are all different but have one thing in common. Mysogyny.
Story one is about a man reflecting on his life, how it could have been better if he tried to be a better man.
Story two wasn't memorable to me, that is why I can't recall anything.
Story three is about a married woman who goes to the city to escape her life filled with duties. She meets a man and is left handcuffed to a bed. We can all imagine how this ended. Either with death caused by hypothermia or shame after staff find her.

Keegan was able to write these stories beautifully. As if it is a summary of three amazing novels.

Thank u Grove Atlantic for the ARC!

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One new and two older stories makes three terrible men. I had read the last one, the near-horror story "Antarctica" before, with it's slow accumulation of dread and the ending that you hope won't be coming. Perhaps the one I like best is the middle story, from Keegan's second collection, with its closely observed detail (well, an attribute of all her work), fine sense of place, and the introduction of an odd, furious man who the protagonist gets her own literary revenge on. I give this 4 stars instead of 5 to leave that extra one for the earlier books "Foster' and "Small Things Like These," both masterpieces.

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These stories are dark little gems, maybe a little too so for my taste, but Keegan is a master of the short story form. Immensely readable!

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I have so enjoyed reading Claire Keegan’s previous work that I requested this advance copy of So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men from NetGalley without even reading the description. (So to say I was eager to dive in is an understatement, indeed.) Although I enjoy reading nearly all literary fiction, I have a special place in my heart for well-written short stories. And of this genre, Claire Keegan is a master! Her writing is crisp, spare, and full of emotional punch. This collection of three dark short stories shows off Keegan’s skills with precise, insightful, and unforgettable glimpses into the lives of three “couples.” The three stories, taken together, create an unsettling commentary on relationships between women and men. Evocative and emotional, this collection will give fans of Claire Keegan something to savor.

Thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on November 14, 2023.

4 stars

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Keegan's an excellent writer, this review is really more for the volume itself, which consists of one new story and two others published long ago in already existing books to fill out the length. I would not include the new piece among Keegan's best. It's a rather simplistic-feeling depiction of a man who doesn't understand that being married to someone entails also living with them. I get the intent, and I know there are people like this in the world, but something about the characterization feels rather thin. The other two stories date back to 2008 and 1999 so if you've been reading the author's work for any length of time you've definitely read them by now.

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Claire Keegan is the best short story writer to exist. This collection is another gem. She is the absolute master.

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