Foster – Claire Keegan

fosterThis short story, recently published as a standalone work, is about as perfect a prose snapshot as it is possible to get. I hope people aren’t put off by the title and the grim cover – despite the appearance of similarity with ‘misery porn’ the Ireland in this story is one blessedly free of rain drenched institutional child abuse. We see the world of Foster through the eyes of a young girl, sent away from her parents and siblings to live with a couple in Wexford. This new home has an abundance of milk and fruit and even extra money – there are clean clothes and baths and apparent happiness. The couple are strangers to our young narrator, although they are family, and we can pick up on the familial politics through her relayed information. Like our narrator, we have no idea how long the foster arrangement will be in place. We are forced to see the world through the naïve eyes of a child, and to learn both the reality of her own home life and the secrets of the home she is placed in along with her. It is both affirming to watch her unfurl like a flower from the care and attention she now receives, and heart-breaking to see her new self-worth buffeted first by the jealousy of neighbours and then by the reality that children are often pawns in a game they do not understand. Not a word is out of place, and it is utterly absorbing. Highly recommended.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s