So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan [7/10]

Claire Keegan must present a marketing dilemma for her publisher. She writes short: after short story collections (Antarctica and Walk the Blue Fields) in 1999 and 2007, there came Foster (2010, 128 pages) and Small Things Like These (2021, 83 pages). The latter two novellas were brilliant, written in a restrained, lyrical style and dealing with emotionally deep topics. I snapped up So Late in the Day as soon as it came out, eager to sink into another life-changing, novella-length wonderment, only to find … a short story. A charged story, to be sure, covering the reflections of a man ruing his recent love life while skirting on the edges of recognizing his own deeply imbued misogyny, but no more than a short story. Wonderfully written, gently choreographed, full of tender evisceration … yet … yet just a short story, not even close to the length of a novella. Summing up, if you are a real fan, like I am, by all means pay US$4 for an ebook version of So Late in the Day, but for anyone else, wait for it to emerge in a collection of shorts, as it should have been in the first place.

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