Een geweldige en mooie hartbrekende novelle
What an excellent and beautiful heartbreaking novella! Claire Keegan describes in this story the life of coal and timber merchant Bill Furlong in a little rural Irish town. He tells about his unmarried mother who got pregnant at 16 and kicked out of the house, but fortunately got board and lodging by an elder rich lady, Mrs Wilson, and worked for her in return as a household maid.
Now he has a small enterprise of his own, and lives a good life with his wife Eileen and 5 daughters, still he feels unrest in himself. He understands he owns a lot to the late Mrs. Wilson and keeps thinking warmly of her, also on the Christmas evening of 1985. Meanwhile, he has to work and make a late delivery to the local convent and Magdalen laundry.
The Magdalen convents in Ireland were established and known for their work with unmarried mothers and girls who were considered ‘fallen and promiscuous’ - 'who were seen as a burden on their families' - by the Catholic church in cooperation with the Irish state.
Bill meets some of these young single mothers in the convent who are incarcerated and exploited, and the fate of one traumatised young mother in particular, Sarah Redmond, who he finds locked in the freezing coalhouse, hits him even harder. Although his wife has asked him to ignore what he has seen, as he has to protect his own family, he wrestles with his conscience. Bill is a good man and the situation he encounters leads him to take a courageous decision.
Claire Keegan tells about the situation of the Magdalen laundry, and Bill Furlong's life and his road to taking his life-changing decision so well in a very short span. Writing short stories this beautiful and heartbreaking with such a development is an art of its own. I definitely want to read more of this writer!
Als in het katholieke Ierland van 1985 ongehuwde moeders en andere 'moeilijke' meisjes, door de kerk worden uitgebuit, stelt een man een moedige daad.