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Walk the Blue Fields: Stories Paperback – June 28, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Keegan studied at Loyola University in New Orleans and received an MFA from the University of Wales.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat (June 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802170498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802170491
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I suppose the first thing that comes to mind when I think of these short stories is that they have a strange relevance to today's uncertain world where the personal quests for economic, romantic and psychological security are ultimately doomed to failure.

The consistent theme weaving through these stories is that of a past that haunts the characters and is their ball and chain into the present and future. The stories revolve around familiar Irish subjects: shamed priests, writers, quirky women condemned as whores, and bored and destitute farmers.

The "Night of the Quicken Trees" combines most of these subjects and is the most compelling story in the book. It takes place on a wind swept plot of land overlooking the Cliffs of Moher, the last bit of Ireland until the Arran Islands. Steeped in mysticism, this tale involves Margaret's humorous and semi-tragic race against time to have a child to replace the baby she lost from crib death. Her decision to leave her home with her child and seek a safe haven from life's threats in the Arran Islands is the most spiritual and redemptive moment in the collection of stories.

"Irish Gothic" is how I would best describe the short stories. If Flannery O'Connor were still alive and visited modern Ireland, I think her reflections would be similar.
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Format: Paperback
I was captivated by each story in Blue Fields. Claire Keegan has a rare and spare voice that manages to convey the sadness of the soul, the treacherous waters called love, the messy interconnectivity of human life as played out in rural Ireland. She recognizes also that resolution and redemption often escape our desperate attempts to find peace. I loved the book and recommend it highly, but be advised that these are not your Irish barstool yarns.
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Format: Paperback
Claire Keegan's 'Walk The Blue Fields' has changed my mind on short stories. Like a secret threshold I crossed over into an old Irish world. The individual tales in this book reminded me of stories my own heart didn't know until the words came alive with sound on the page written with the Irish dialect that engages one immediately.

Ms. Keegan writes with an extraordinary and enchanting beauty and I felt transported and wishing for a return to Ireland and the feelings of attachment to my great grandparents. I also felt more connected to my own inner world and am grateful to this author for that, also. There was also a dramatic ending to the stories, a halt that has stayed with me and returns to me.

Lines as "But however she changed her behaviour, she could do nothing about her nature" from my favorite story "Night of the Quicken Trees" made me smile at the universality of such a truth; I see it in my counseling profession.

The stories in Walk The Blue Fields are not all light and that is what I liked about them, too. Real life is oftentimes a harsh mixture of light and dark. I also know my many writer friends will enjoy the richness of these short stories and I will give them a copy.

I'm so grateful that my son introduced me to Ms. Keegan and gave me her lovely book this very Christmas teaching me once more that this mother can learn from her grown child.
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They're funny, creepy, mysterious, exciting and suspenseful. Reading one each night until through, I only wish there were more. Despite fanciful ideas, some are so well-written that I'm convinced the stories really happened.
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Format: Paperback
Claire Keegan, an Irish author, doesn't just write stories.
She is a magical storyteller who takes you down to the deepest and darkest places of her characters' hearts. Her stories will stay with you. Not only because they are of incredible beauty, but because her words will make you feel the pain and the joy of those she chooses to show you. There is, for instance, the priest, who picks up a bride's pearls after the string breaks. She once was his secret lover and he tells himself that "if she blinked, he would take her hand and take her away from this place. It's what she once wanted but two people hardly ever want the same thing at any given point in life." There is also "the girl, whose father has never given her so much as a tender word, [she] embraces the retriever and with it the possibility that Deegan loves her, after all."
Keegan's stories are about the longing for love we all carry around with us all of our lives. It's an old topic, but a topic told to us in new and heart-wrenching ways.
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Claire Keegan is truly one of the most gifted and talented writers in the world. Having read Antarctica, I bought this book (and after writing this review, am immediately going to order everything else she's ever written!). Each story is a gem. She draws you into each character, nothing contrived or unnatural. Her descriptive narrative is so effective and brilliant, I found myself taking my time in savoring each word, re-reading passages, as I have a habit of speed reading. This book is like a fine, 7 course meal, where you want to savor each bite and chew slowly. I could honestly say I've never read another book quite like it. It was the epitome of brilliant, beautiful writing and originality. A treasured book, which will now reside on my Do Not Lend shelf, as I will read it again. My only complaint is, I wish it were 600 pages.
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