Claire Kilroy

Claire Kilroy

Dublin, Ireland

Claire Kilroy was born in 1973 in Dublin, Ireland and was educated at Trinity College. In 2002 she received an Arts Council Literature Award. Her first novel, ALL SUMMER (Faber, 2003), was the recipient of the 2004 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was short-listed for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award and her most recent novel, TENDERWIRE (Faber, 2006), was shortlisted for the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel Award. She lives in Dublin.

Average rating: 3.48 · 632 ratings · 95 reviews · 5 distinct worksSimilar authors

3.63 avg rating — 273 ratings — published 2006 — 6 editions
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The Devil I Know

3.52 avg rating — 213 ratings — published 2012 — 5 editions
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All Names Have Been Changed

2.95 avg rating — 94 ratings — published 2009 — 5 editions
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All Summer

3.40 avg rating — 40 ratings — published 2003 — 3 editions
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From the Republic of Consci...

3.83 avg rating — 12 ratings — published 2010
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“Thought I saw you on the beach this morning...Thought I saw you standing on the white strand, your back to the wind. The rain had stopped and there was a brisk clarity in the air. You watched me over your left shoulder, head tucked in coyly. Seabirds flying low in the sky, and the grey-green waves at your foot. A whole panorama thrown up behind you.

I was on the coast road coming back from the shops. I stopped walking once I caught sight of you. You were wearing a reefer jacket with the collar turned up against the weather. It might have been navy, but it looked black in the distance. As did your trousers. As did your shoes. All of you was black except your face and hair. You wore no hat...Never once saw you in Winter clothes, yet there you were as clear as day for a whole moment. Only your eyes were visible above the upturned collar. Your hair was in your eyes. You watched me through those pale strands. And I watched you. Intently.

The man from down the road drove by in his faded red car. He was going the other way, so he didn't offer a lift. He just waved. I waved back. And then I turned to you again, and we looked at each other a little longer. Very calm. Heart barely shifted. Too far away to see your features. No matter. There was salt on your face. Sea salt. It was in your hair. It was on your mouth. It was all over you, as though you gazed at me through ice. And it was all over me. It tingled on my skin.

After a time I moved off, and you broke into two. You realigned yourself into driftwood and stone. I came inside and lit a fire. Sat in front of it and watched it burn. The window fogged up as my clothes and hair dried out. That was hours ago. The fire is nearly gone. But I can still taste the salt on my lips. It is a dry and stinging substance and it is everywhere now. It has touched everything that is left. Coated every surface with its sparkling silt.

I will always be thirsty.”
Claire Kilroy, All Summer

“He could be anywhere by now, so that is where I look for him. Anywhere...
There are times when I don't recognize this woman who plays with such self-possession. She is something that I have faked. She is William Tyne's daughter, I supposed; his idea of her. I put her forward when I am performing so that he will approach me. I strive to make her taller than she is, more graceful, less unsure. I don't think other people have to try so hard in their lives. Or do they? Are we all living like this? So close to this mesh of nerves?
So I played for my father another concerto, though he was never one for sitting still in a chair. He would make an exception for me, though, his firstborn. He would see the progress I have made.”
Claire Kilroy, Tenderwire

“Claude didn’t sound every note. He must’ve been playing from memory. There is an unguarded quality in musicians unaware of listening ears. Intimate, hearing the piece like that, played for no one, played from far away, the sound escaping onto a stairwell presumed empty. Sheherazade spun out her tales over a thousand and one Arabian nights. Her tales were her demand for life: I deserve to live so long as I can unravel such intrigue into the world. do not kill me now. Do not strangle me at dawn.

I wondered if that trapped animal of a boy had left off rocking to listen. That pitiful youth, did he understand rapture? There was a terrible pain across my chest. It was the old pain, the old loss. This paper room at the top of the stairs in which, yesterday, my father had been, and now this unassuming beauty welling out of it, unbidden. Sunlight was spilling through the glass door on to the landing; the dust motes might have been there since time began. It was all immensely delicate and just beyond my reach. There were pockets of wonder all over the earth, I knew, like wild animals in glades, and I happened upon them now and then. Less so in America, because it was not my home, but there were pockets in America too, and I prized them all the more for their rarity. Once I blundered into them, the wonder took flight; it evaporated like dew. It was a matter of not blundering into them, of letting them be, of trying to live on the brink of them without intruding.”
Claire Kilroy

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