cover image Foster


Claire Keegan. Grove, $20 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8021-6014-0

This charming novella from Irish writer Keegan (Small Things Like These) follows a young girl who’s unceremoniously dropped off by her rapscallion father to live on an older couple’s farm in the early 1980s. The girl harnesses a piercing view of her father, who is “given to lying about things that would be nice, if they were true,” and her new guardians, John and Edna Kinsella, whose only child drowned, are generous in spirit and provide a home for her to thrive (“here there is room, and time to think. There may even be money to spare”). With the loving guidance of the Kinsellas, the girl undergoes a transformation: “I try to remember another time when I felt like this and am sad because I can’t remember a time, and happy, too, because I cannot.” Things get complicated when the girl’s mother writes to the Kinsellas, saying she wants the girl back, and the resulting scenes are deeply moving as Keegan portrays the swings of mood and circumstance for a foster child who is held captive by circumstance. The result will capture readers’ hearts. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (Nov.)