SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE
Claire Keegan’s Foster is one of my favourite books, it still resonates with me more than fifteen years later. This story is less than 130 pages but boy does Keegan ever pack a lot into those pages and she manages to make the ordinary extraordinary. This one takes place at Christmas time in 1985. Bill Furlong is our main character, he is a humble timber merchant and father of five daughters.
Furlong is a simple man but has a good heart and we see that when he makes a delivery to a convent that also happens to be an unwed mother laundry. We have all heard the stories of the Magdelene Girls so I won’t go into that but at the convent, Bill observes some of the unwed mothers and notices their harsh treatment by the Catholic church. This touches Bill because of his own mother giving birth to him unwed and only sixteen. Bill and his mother were lucky, she had a compassionate, female employer. Bill realized these girls could have been his mom if it weren’t for her good fortune of having a supportive boss. For one lucky girl at the convent, Bill becomes a saviour and as they say, not all angels have wings. All. The. Stars.