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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  248 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Compassionate, witty, and unsettling, Antarctica is the debut collection of one of Ireland's most exciting and versatile new talents. Claire Keegan, winner of several prestigious awards including the William Trevor Prize, writes stories that have a razor-sharp narrative style and unembellished tone, and move from the cruel, hard life of rural Ireland to the hot landscape o...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 27th 2001 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 1999)
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Before starting this, I fully expected it to be a one-star-less read than Walk the Blue Fields; how could it be as good? These earlier stories are perhaps less complex than the later ones, but this collection contains two of my now-new favorites. I am in awe of Keegan's satisfying, even cathartic, endings.

I came to this collection knowing she received her undergrad degree in New Orleans and wondering if her time here might've informed any of it. Evidenced by the handful of stories set in Louisia...more
Sep 01, 2013 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: short story readers
Claire Keegan is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her short stories each present a world of people who are at risk, taking chances, living lives under pressure of real or imagined horror or stress. Occasionally there are moments of happiness amidst the sadness. Her people take full advantage of these moments, swallow them whole as if to live on them for a while.

While I didn't rate this collection as high as Walk the Blue Fields: Stories, there are some stories here that I loved, part...more
I picked up a used copy of this book earlier today at a thrift store for a dollar, thinking I would take a gamble with what seemed to be a promising collection of short stories. Once I started reading, however, I found that I had discovered a gem - perhaps a little rough around the edges, but a gem nonetheless. Keegan has a very distinctive style that remains consistent throughout the book, but simultaneously effortlessly conforms to a myriad of settings and topics. Like a good actor, Keegan's w...more
Victor Carson
After reading one of Claire Keegan's short stories in The Best American Short Stories of 2011, I bought both of her published short story collections: Antarctica (published in 1999) and Walk the Blue Fields (published in 2007). The 1999 collection had several very good stories, including the title story, Antarctica; Men and Women; Love in the Tall Grass; Sisters; Passport Soup; and The Ginger Rogers Sermon. These are set in Ireland and have the charm of that location and a feeling of authenticit...more
César Valenzuela
“Antártida”, de Claire Keegan es un libro de relatos memorable. Keegan, nacida en Irlanda en 1968, recuerda a Chéjov y a Carver, sobre todo por la forma como el actuar de los personajes grita lo que les sucede, por la precisión en las frases, pero desde un estilo muy personal.
En todos sus cuentos hace tanto frío, emocional y físico, como en la Antártida. Consigue imágenes poderosas en relatos como "Hombres y mujeres", donde llegué a sentir pena por el desgraciado del padre mientras sostiene su s...more
No soy una gran lectora de cuentos, así que no sé qué parte atribuirle a Claire y qué parte a mí en mi ligero aburrimiento. El tono seco, frío, me daba miedo en los primeros cuentos, siempre parecía que iba a pasar algo horrible. En los últimos, en los que sí pasa algo horrible, no sé por qué pero el efecto no estuvo. Lo mejor, lo dicen todos pero es verdad, las escenas de la vida de campo irlandesa.
My review from 2009:
Pretty good writing. I would certainly read a full-length book by her if I came across one.This is a collection of short stories, by an Irish writer called Claire Keegan. Some are set in Ireland (quite a few of those being in rural Ireland) and some are set in the States. She seems to capture the way both sets of people talk very well. They are realistic stories. I mean, people in these are not happy all of the time, and a lot of them are pretty miserable. There's quite a bit...more
She's won a ton of awards in Ireland, and the writing is quite beautiful, but she excessively describes—too much picture painting as Gass would say. Unlike Edna O'Brien (one of my favorite Irish writers, and whom Keegan seems influenced by) the accumulation of details does not appear to be in service of the mood or the character's emotional state. So my first impression is that these stories are a bit over-cooked, over-written, with the exception of "Passport Soup" which is a gut wrenching story...more
I can't wait to read more from this young author, and only picked up this book because the library didn't have "Foster" which has been given rave reviews.

From the L.A. Times "Published to great critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, the iridescent stories in Claire Keegan's debut collection, Antarctica, have been acclaimed by The Observer to be "among the finest contemporary stories written recently in English."

From Publishers Weekly: "debut collection of 15 stories by Keegan, an accla...more
Anna Carrie
Keegan's collection of stories is quite eclectic and the prose quite lyrical. While Keegan is an Irish writer and many of her stories are set in Ireland, a handful are set in America. However I felt that those set in Ireland were much more cultivated and beautifully nuanced. She also is voicing what many in Ireland are thinking--that they are an emerging generation that cannot (or will not) adhere to the mindset and mores of previous generations. In particular some of the themes that arise are t...more
Antarctica contains realistic stories that revolve around subtle personality flaws or traits. i learned a lot about writing short stories from Ms. Claire Keegan. Her stories end in death and sorrow as mine do. I discovered I was not breaking any hard and fast rules of writing.
Vivian Valvano
This is Keegan's first colletion of short stories, and it has won at least two major prizes; individual stories have also won awards. It is an excellent and formidable first collection. Many of Keegan's characters are hurt, many betray or are betrayed, some experience ghastly catastrophes. I especially appreciated "Quare Name for a Boy," "Sisters," "The Burning Palms," and "The Ginger Rogers Sermon," but each one held my interest. A few made me squirm. She is a very effective writer and offers u...more
I can't warm to her stories. Her second collection is somewhat more subtle, but on the whole I feel her brushstrokes are too broad for my taste. Too many spectacular, not to say lurid incidents and themes: murder, rape, kidnap, missing children, &c. "Chilling, adult versions of fairy tales" one reviewer has it, and this may be true, maybe they have to be read in that spirit. Not subtle psychological realism so much as hefty symbolism and garish colours. This may appeal to some, but not to me...more
Claire Keegan is a master of what I would describe as "contemporary fin-de-siecle Irish gothic," but unlike previous masters of the spine-tingler (eg: Bram Stoker), Keegan finds the horror in the mundane and the terror in the banal. The stories are dense and finely wrought. They capture all facets of Irish life, from the urban grittiness of dear, dirty Dublin to sprawling yet claustrophobic emerald countryside. To its immense credit, I found it absorbing but able to withstand numerous breaks in...more
Amy Ruth
I picked this up after really loving the short story version of "Foster" that appeared in The New Yorker. I liked this in places but not as much as I'd expected. A few of them (Passport Soup, another I can't recall the name of that starts with two people in a diner) I really disliked which made it hard to continue. But I'd say 3 or 4 were quite wonderful so I am glad I kept with it. I still want to read her others--this actually does not make me less interested in her. I am still looking forward...more
Brilliant and green with envy: this is how I want to be able to write!
i liked these short stories. the character-driven plot lines were kept interesting by the author's inclusion of some appalling dark twists. disconcerting is not necessarily a negative for me, but i did think a few of the stories were over the top. while the shock factor definitely worked for the majority of the stories - particularly those in the first half of the book - i found a few of the "twists" to be too out-there and thus sometimes distracting from the otherwise good narrative.
This collection of short stories is excellent. She is such a wonderful writer. With each story, there is an ominous feeling- you just continue reading waiting to see what will unfold and yes there is an element of tragedy in each story. The only bad thing about short stories to me is that they are short- just as I get invested in the characters and their situations, the story ends. The stories in this collection are some of the best I've read.
I haven't read an entire book of short stories in a very long time, nor have I ENJOYED reading them as much as I enjoyed Antarctica. I read a story a day and truly savored them. Many were quite heartbreaking, a few I laughed out loud at, but mostly they were just very realistic portrayals of people, often just looking for a little bit of happiness (and not always finding it). I'm looking forward to reading more by Keegan.
Melanie Tidy
I loved Claire Keegan's story Foster, on the strength of that I bought Antarctica. It's difficult to like all of the short stories in any writers collections, most of the stories in Antarctica were wonderful, atmospheric with magnificent prose. My favourite story was Sisters with strong characters and a good twist. I will buy the rest of her work.
Julio César
Los cuentos de Claire Keegan son directos. Siempre empiezan con una frase, una situación inquietante. Los personajes son sencillos, grises en sus miserias pero ricos en matices. El invierno, al que hace referencia el título, sirve de fondo a la mayoría de estas historias, que oscilan entre lo macabro y lo tierno pero siempre tenso, injusto y doloroso.
Des jolis portraits de femmes dans ce recueil de nouvelles "campagnardes", entre Irlande et Etats-Unis, dans une écriture simple mais piquante. La digne héritière de Nuala O'Faolain, c'est ce que je pensais en lisant ces lignes avant de lire sur la 4e de couverture qu'elle l'avait effectivement encouragée. Un vrai bonheur de lecture.
Jane Gribbon
I read this book because a friend lent it to me. I don't read many collections of short stories but I am glad that I read this one. She writes beautifully and creates real characters. All the stories have an ominous feel which makes for compelling reading. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books
There were some stories that I enjoyed thoroughly, and others I will easily forget; despite the weaker stories, I love Keegan's writing style throughout. She has a way of describing everything very simplistically, poetically. The imagery and characterization is very real and captivating.
Jorcam Fernández
Una serie de cuentos que tienen cada uno estilo diferente, lo cual se debe agradecer realmente a Keegan ya que se siente un trabajo fresco y vale la pena. Si bien ciertos cuentos no te atrapan del todo y los podrías olvidar después, otros te ponen realmente los pelos de punta.
Melanie Burnett
This is the best collection of short stories I have read in a long time! Very similar to works by Shirley Jackson and Flannery O'
Connor. My favorites from the book were Antarctica and Sisters. A must read for those who enjoy short stories!
I had already read "Foster" and Walk the Blue Fields when I read this earlier collection by Keegan. Although I prefer the other two, I am still in awe of her talents. Her children are particularly vivid to me, and sad.
Aine MacAodha
I met Claire a few times at a writers retreat, she gave me her book Antarctica. Which is book filled with short stories, very witty and down to earth, you would enjoy these writing from this Irish aurhor.
Abby Sominski
I forgot about this book yet there were a couple stories I remembered and couldn't place, now I know, they are here! What a wonderful collection of stories, I am looking forward to her latest!
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Claire Keegan was born in Wexford in 1968.
Her story collections are Antarctica (London, Faber and Faber, 1999/New York, Grove/Atlantic, 1999); Walk the Blue Fields (Faber and Faber, 2007/ Grove Press, Black Cat, 2008); and the single story Foster (Faber and Faber, 2010).
Her awards include The Francis MacManus Award; The William Trevor Prize; the Olive Cook Award; the Los Angeles Times Book of the...more
More about Claire Keegan...
Foster Walk the Blue Fields: Stories Davy Byrnes Stories: The Six Prize Winning Stories From The 2009 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award As Selected By Richard Ford The Best American Short Stories 2011 Birthday Stories

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