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Foster
 
 

Foster [Kindle Edition]

Claire Keegan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description

Book Description

A heartbreaking, haunting story of childhood, loss and love by one of Ireland’s most acclaimed writers, in a stunning limited edition package.

Product Description

A small girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm in rural Ireland, without knowing when she will return home. In the strangers' house, she finds a warmth and affection she has not known before and slowly begins to blossom in their care. And then a secret is revealed and suddenly, she realizes how fragile her idyll is.

Winner of the Davy Byrnes Memorial Prize, Foster is now published in a revised and expanded version. Beautiful, sad and eerie, it is a story of astonishing emotional depth, showcasing Claire Keegan's great accomplishment and talent.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 190 KB
  • Print Length: 101 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571255655
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction; Limited edition edition (2 Sep 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0045I7FYC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,816 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary gem. 15 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
I have subscribed to the " New Yorker" magazine but I have only once felt compelled to cut out and keep a short story. That story was " Foster" by Claire Keegan.
I am connected to the setting of the story. I went to boarding school in Wexford for many years and feel a sense of kinship with that beautiful county and it's people. But I was delighted to learn that I was far from alone in regarding the story as a masterpiece and that many, many people find the clarity and lucidity of the writing astonishing.
" Foster" details the experience of a child who is sent to live with her Mother's relatives for the summer - a not uncommon occurrence in rural Ireland. What is extraordinary is the way in which the contrast between the two households is delineated in such delicate and telling detail.The child, passive at first, a transient in the indecipherable world of adults, seems indifferent to her placement, aware only that adults are unpredictable. But soon her assumptions are being challenged. As she observes her father's casual bad manners, hears him lie about the harvest, and realizes that he has never held her hand, she becomes aware that adults can, and do, behave very differently. The men, in particular, are beautifully drawn with the child's Uncle being surely one of the most lovingly created characters in recent literature.
The heat of the summer, the structured days, the plentiful food and kindness and warmth of her foster parents begin to thaw and change the child. She blossoms. But her foster parents have a secret - a sadness - something that they do not speak of. That is no hindrance to a spiteful neighbor, who delights in discovering the secret to the child at the first opportunity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you have to read it at least twice 15 July 2013
By CC
Format:Paperback
First I read Foster for the story and it was a moving and beautiful one, though I felt a bit let down at the end. Who was Daddy, why, what, did she go back to the Kinsellas, did she stay with her parents? Then I read it again, in the light of what we find out in the book, and it all made more sense. Of course there could be no resolution - families and emotions don't work like this - but she has found, over the summer, in Kinsella, a Daddy for the first time, and an unswervingly kind and steady older sister in Edna. She'll visit them again, but even if she doesn't, they've awakened something in her.

Straightaway the Kinsellas set down the terms of her stay by assuring her father that they haven't taken her in for her potential as a farm worker. Unsentimental and practical, we know they are good by the delicacy with which her bed-wetting is dealt with ( the 'weeping' mattress). Also Edna ( I think, anyway) deliberately lets her go from the wake with the horrible Mildred knowing full well that she will hear about the tragedy - because Kinsella and Edna couldn't tell her themselves. (How could they, without making her sad or guilty or feeling she was second-best?) What was lovely was that Edna trusted the girl not to credit Mildred's ugly insinuations ('that's what they said happened anyway').

I also like the way the girl's own mother isn't as 'bad' as the father, just overwhelmed beyond belief. She has taught her daughter the names of plants and herbs, which means there was a time she brought her for walks. The disorder of her parents' house, after Kinsellas' house, is shocking to the girl. The section that describes all the jobs she and Edna do together, day after day, makes us see that domestic order is, itself, a kind of love.

By the way, small point; another reviewer set the book in the 1960s/70s, but the author deliberately, by mentioning the hunger strikes, lets us know it was 1981.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb control 6 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's her remarkably sustained and understated way of arranging the word son paper that makes Claire Keegan a delight. I read this in an hour too. This does not make it slight: it makes it compelling. Just beautiful, faceted, subtle prose. Something this "effortless" is painstaking work indeed. Here's to you, Claire: short prose artists are thin on the ground. You're a gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novella 31 Mar 2011
By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In this short novella, which is a revised and expanded version of an earlier short story, a young girl is sent to stay with relatives on a farm in rural Ireland.

The action takes place over a dry hot summer and Keegan wonderfully evokes the days spent on the farm and the rhythm of life there interspersed with moments of incident. I could almost smell the dry grass the description was so vivid. The characters were also very well drawn and I could empathise completely with the girl when faced with both their kindnesses and cruelties.

"Foster" only took an hour or two to read but for that time I was completely transported and on finishing I immediately went back to the beginning to read the first twenty pages again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Perfection 19 Jan 2011
By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Wow! What an absolutely beautiful, scintillating gem of a book - 96 pages of pure perfection. If I was to recommend a book to all of my friends, both avid and reluctant readers, it would be this, described as a "long, short story" rather than a novella.

Winner of the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award in 2009, Claire Keegan has excelled herself here, in a long story which was originally published in a shorter form, in The New Yorker. Without giving away too much of the plot, our narrator, an unnamed young girl, is taken by her father to a farm in Wexford to be "fostered" out to the Kinsellas for the summer months while her mother gets ready for the birth of yet another child. The impression given is that the girl comes from a near-impoverished background with a father who is a loafer and a mother who strives to keep their heads above water. Therefore, she is thrown into a totally alien environment amongst strangers - yes, its rural, farm setting is similar to her own home but there the similarities end.

Foster is too short to be a coming of age story but it is certainly a "coming of awareness" story in that our narrator's view of the world is vastly expanded in the space of one hot summer, and we don't have many of those in Ireland, I can tell you! I loved the fact that it's not a sterotypically Irish tale of woe and misery - of course, alcohol does feature but in the context of a wake at which it is the norm to toast the deceased. Instead it's a timeless tale of rural Irish life in which the bleatings of the outside world are somewhat muffled. Indeed, apart from a passing reference to the death of one of the strikers (the H Block Hunger Strike in the early 80s), you would think you were in a bygone era.
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Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
&quote;
Many’s the man lost much just because he missed a perfect opportunity to say nothing.’ &quote;
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users
&quote;
realise she is just like everyone else, and wish I was back at home so that all the things I do not understand could be the same as they always are. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
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Part of me wants my father to leave me here while another part of me wants him to take me back, to what I know. I am in a spot where I can neither be what I always am nor turn into what I could be. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

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