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The empty family : stories
Colm Toibin
Adult Fiction TOIBIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Toibin returns to his native shores from Brooklyn for the bulk of these nine pristine stories, all-save one-contemporary tales of lives haunted by loss, whether it's the legacy of a sexually abusive priest in an already complicated love triangle in "The Pearl Fishers," the long-absent gay son who returns to Dublin from New York to attend to his mother's last moments in "One Minus One," or the aching void that greets an academic's return to a family home on the Irish coast in the wistful title story. Affairs, airports, and deathbeds populate a mature prose that's as tender with descriptions of sexual, often gay, love as it is with the heart's more inexpressible reaches, never more so than in the complex "The Street," where two Pakistanis find love in the repressive backdrop of blue-collar Barcelona only to be met with violence and a curious captivity. These stories go a long way toward establishing Toibin as heir to William Trevor, with reverberations that show how life encompasses more than the living. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This work conveys a remarkable cohesion for a collection of previously published stories. Each tale focuses on people who reckon transformative events from their pasts, or rather, are transformed by remembering. Toibin's characteristically lyrical prose seems even more elegantly economical in this volume; this spareness enhances the beauty, sometimes aching, that emerges from observations and dialog. In "The Street," for example, Toibin's tender rendering of the thoughts and routines of a wounded Pakistani man convalescing in a dim, dark garret in Barcelona transmits both the isolation and longing that run through each story like distant birdsong, palpable yet barely perceived. Verdict In this triumphant follow-up to his award-winning novel Brooklyn, Toibin exhibits his familiar stylistic simplicity while extending his emotional reach and range in surprising ways. There's a mastery of romantic eroticism that calls to mind Camus's lush lyricism in "Return to Tipasa" and Exile and the Kingdom, as well as the seductive strangeness of Katherine Ann Porter's best-known short stories. For all readers of fiction. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]-J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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