By Claire Keegan
Grove Press, Paperback, 9780802139016, 224pp.
Publication Date: May 2002
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Published to great critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, the iridescent stories in Claire Keegan's debut collection, Antarctica, have been acclaimed by The Observer to be "among the finest contemporary stories written recently in English." In "Antarctica," a married woman travels out of town to see what it's like to sleep with a man other than her husband. "Love in the Tall Grass" takes Cordelia down a coastal road on the last day of the twentieth century to keep a date with her lover that has been nine years in the waiting. "Stay Close to the Water's Edge" tells of a young Harvard student who is pitilessly humiliated by his homophobic stepfather on his birthday. Keegan's writing has a clear vision of unaffected truths and boldly explores a world where dreams, memory, and chance have crippling consequences for those involved. The stories are often dark and enveloped in a palpable atmosphere, and the reader feels that something "big" is going on in each of these carefully sculpted tales. The award-winning Antarctica, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001, and recipient of the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the William Trevor Prize, and the Martin Healy Award, is a haunting debut. "These stories are diamonds." -- Emily Robichaud, Esquire "That Keegan has a knack for storytelling is proved many times over...." -- Caitlin Macy, The New York Times Book Review "[These] stories ... show Keegan to be an authentic talent with a gimlet eye and a distinctive voice." -- Amanda Heller, The Boston Globe "Reading these stories is like coming upon work of Ann Beattie or Raymond Carver at the start of their careers." -- Jerry Griswold, Los Angeles Times