Monday, March 4, 2024

the last book I ever read (Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan, excerpt one)

from Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan:

Now, he lived in the town with his wife, Eileen, and their five daughters. He’d met Eileen while she was working in the office of Graves & Co. and had courted her in the usual ways, taking her to the cinema and for long walks along the towpath in the evenings. He was attracted to her shiny black hair and slate eyes, her practical, agile mind. When they engaged to marry, Mrs Wilson gave Furlong a few thousand pounds, to start up. Some said she had given him money because it was one of her own that fathered him – sure hadn’t he been christened William, after the kings.

But Furlong never found out who his father was. His mother had died suddenly, keeled over on the cobblestones one day, wheeling a barrow of crab-apples up to the house, to make jelly. A bleeding to the brain, was what the doctors had called it afterwards. Furlong was twelve at the time. Years later, when he’d gone into the registry office for a copy of his birth certificate, Unknown was all that was written in the space where his father’s name might have been. The clerk’s mouth had bent into an ugly smile handing it out to him, over the counter.

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