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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  513 Ratings  ·  78 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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Amalia Gavea
I don't have much to say about this short story collection. Critically aclaimed it may be, but it left me cold and indifferent. The first story, named''Antarctica'' and the story with the simple title ''Sisters'' were the best, written in a foreboding voice, full of mystery. Especially, ''Antarctica'' was on my mind for days. However, I found the writing to be repetitive and the themes of the stories tedious and too melodramatic and narrow. We have women who want to ''try'' how it would have bee ...more
When I woke up this morning, I could feel something sitting on my right shoulder and now it seems as if there’s a furry paw beginning to curl around my neck. I know I have little time and that I have to choke this thing before it chokes me..

So here goes: if I’ve learned anything from Claire Keegan it’s to avoid messing around and to get straight to the point. Why waste time setting up scenarios, explaining the background. You just have to grab the reader from the first line, get those hearts rac
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to my lovely friend, Lindsey, for recommending this book. We were discussing independent and used bookstores and she suggested I borrow this book of short stories she found in a used bookstore she loves from her, and I'm very glad I did!

Claire Keegan's stories are fascinating. A couple left me scratching my head, as I'm nowhere near as deep as I'd like to be, and so sometimes reading inbetween the lines is not my strong suit. However, I found the majority of her short stories about rur
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of Claire Keegan’s stories read almost like fables. Her characters include a happily married woman who “wondered what it would feel like to sleep with another man”, a pining woman who waits years for a romantic rendezvous with a married doctor and a crass, homophobic millionaire who strips the joy from his achieving stepson’s life.

Put another way, her characters can seem emblematic, and that’s the good and the bad of it. There are at least two stories that could easily fit into a “Best of S
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorites: Antarctica & Sisters
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I think the best stories are a circle; these go in a straight line. They’re good, just not the best. That said, I want to remember the title story, because wow.

(Also: funny to come across Mississippi and Louisiana when everything else is across the pond.)
Leticia Rivas
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro de cuentos brillante. Casi todos las historias ocurren en el invierno irlandés (bueno, una en el invierno de Nueva York) y Keegan, con una breve descripción logra hacernos habitar ese ambiente frío, en el que parece que nada va a pasar hasta que pasa, como si uno nunca pudiera bajar la guardia.

Cuentos que desbordan, incomodan, que se te clavan en el pecho, como puntadas.
Cuentos donde lo que importa es lo que no se dice, lo que subyace a la superficie. Cuentos, en su mayoría, protagoni
César Valenzuela Cota
“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
Koen Kop
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read four of the stories, then gave up. Tales that go nowhere - no bottom line/denouement/"punchline". Compare these to the short stories of Roald Dahl, Somerset Maugham, or O.Henry, and you'll get my point. All the contemporary fiction I read, without exception, be it in English, German, French or Dutch, is long-winded, tedious and downright lacking in imagination. Is the heyday of Western storytelling over, or is this a languorous lull?
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.
Janelle Bailey
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
63: Antarctica by Claire second of hers and another pre-Ireland read. Some of these stories are very Irish, and others very much are not. But Keegan's stark, deep stories are compelling. I love all of these different voices, with hers as the foundation to each. Each story contains characters who, understand or are figuring out themselves only for themselves and us, the readers. Most of her characters live...or read...inwardly, if that makes any sense. She trusts us with these charact ...more
The writing wasn't bad but the plot twists were often unsubtle and repetitive… it's possible to write startling short stories without constantly using violence, rape, kidnapping, murder or suicide as a shocking twist.
Juan Nalerio
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La irlandesa es muy buena cuentista.
50% Chejov + 30% Carver + 20% Munro.

A por más Keegan.
Kike Ramos
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Español / English

Esta es una colección de historias que ocurren en la Irlanda rural. La autora tiene una escritura tan hermosa, y una forma de relatar cada una de las historias que hace que parezca realismo mágico. No tiene nada de ese género ninguna de las historias, sin embargo, las imágenes que crea con su prosa se sienten atemporales y suspendidas en el tiempo, parece que uno se mueve lentamente a través de ellas y las ve a través de un filtro cargado de emociones, pero sobre todo de melanco
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, irish
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
Victor Carson
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I was browsing through a bookstore when I stumbled across Antarctica & bought it on a whim! I'm so glad that I did! Antarctica is a collection of short stories & one of my all-time favorite books. A bit dark but hopeful. Claire Keegan is a fantastic storyteller! And the cover image is stunning!
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La traducción es impecable, da gusto. Permite que lxs personajes y voces que construye Keegan fluyan en otro idioma, sin dificultad.
Los cuentos son excelentes, aunque como señala la reseña perturbadores. No esperaba que fueran así, y por alguna razón eso me sucedió cada vez que comencé a leer un nuevo cuento.
Su narrativa tiene varios puntos fuertes, entre ellos: los escenarios rurales de Irlanda y las mujeres o niñas que habitan sus historias.
Spoiler alert: en dos de los relatos aparecen el per
Carlos Faciano
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un librazo de cuentos! Me gustaron la mayoría..algunos me dieron miedo y otros me conmovieron e hicieron pensar.
Cuando leí el primer cuento -el que le da nombre al libro- pensé que no iba a haber otro cuento que lo igualara..por suerte me equivoqué!!! Estos son los cuentos que mas me gustaron: "Hombres y mujeres", "Amor en el pasto alto", "Tormentas", "Nombre raro para un niño", "Hermanas", "Las palmeras en llamas", "Sopa de pasaporte" y "Siempre hay que tener mucho cuidado".
Muchos de los cuento
Vincent Noel
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dead weight of the past lives with us
Mechi García
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julia Molloy
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Claire Keegan’s debut short story collection Antarctica demonstrates a keen attention to real people experiencing ordinary and extraordinary events.

Claire Keegan’s short story ‘Antarctica’, which opens her collection of the same name, starts with the sentence:

Every time the happily married woman went away she wondered how it would feel to sleep with another man.

The bold but somehow banal opening sets the tone not only for ‘Antarctica’ but for Keegan’s collection as a whole. Likened to Raymond Ca
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yotl
What strikes you is the extraordinary precision of the writing. Wonderful collection of stories.
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna Carrie
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Vivian Valvano
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
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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
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“I will learn fifteen types of wind and know the weight of tomorrow's rain by the rustle in the sycamores.” 4 likes
“That's the way it is in our house, everybody knowing things but pretending they don't.” 0 likes
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