What a terrific find this little book was and I have no idea how I missed out on this one for so long. Foster by Claire Keegan is skilfully crafterd and thought a provoking Novella which really brought me back to my childhood with its wonderful sense of Irishness and it's rich prose and unsettling storyline. This for me is the Ireland of the 1980s and Claire Keegan has truly got inside the mind of a child and crafted a story where what is unsaid is more important than what is actually said."
This Novella (under 100 pages) tell the story of a a young girl from a struggling farming family in rural Ireland who spends a summer with better off childless relatives on another farm. She's been sent away during the summer to lessen the burden on her strained mother who is pregnant yet again. The girl doesn't know when she will be going home. Her father who drives her there doesn't say when he her will return for her, or even say goodbye properly. The couple, each in their own way show her a love and affection she is unfamiliar with, as she settles in she comes to learn that the couple have their own sorrows.
This is one of those remarkable short books where not a wold is wasted and every sentence is skilfully crafted. On finishing this book I went straight back to page one and read the book all over again as I wanted to read it with a different view this time. I absolutely loved the sense of time and place as you see and smell the Irish countryside, experience the quiet pace of life and the rural communities where your business is everyone's business.
This would make a fantastic bookclub read and I can understand why this is has won so many awards and why it is on the reading list for Leaving Certificate English in Secondary School as so much to discuss in this one.