Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 203
Colum McCann’s book Everything in This Country Must consists of a short story by the same name, as well as another short story and a novella. The story "Everything in This Country Must" deals with the British occupation of Northern Ireland. It is narrated by Katie, a fifteen-year-old Irish girl living with her father. Her mother and brother, Fiachra, were killed in an accident with British troops, and her father is full of hatred and resentment toward any British officers.
When her father’s favorite horse gets trapped in the river during a flood, Katie and her father work to save it. They are struggling, and it looks as though the horse will die, when British soldiers (Hayknife, LongGrasses, and Stevie) come along. They are able to save the horse, although Katie’s father is unhappy with their assistance, as well as with how nice they are to Katie. Katie is conflicted in her feelings. When the soldiers come back to Katie and her father’s house for tea, Stevie pays particular attention to Katie, and this sets her father off. He throws the soldiers out and then kills his horse to avoid being reminded of the British soldiers who saved it.