On the heels of his bestselling and award-winning novel Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín returns with a stunning collection of stories—now available in paperback—“a book that’s both a perfect introduction to Tóibín and, for longtime fans, a bracing pleasure” ( The Seattle Times ).
Critics praised Brooklyn as a “beautifully rendered portrait of Brooklyn and provincial Ireland in the 1950s.” In The Empty Family, Tóibín has extended his imagination further, offering an incredible range of periods and characters—people linked by love, loneliness, desire—“the unvarying dilemmas of the human heart” ( The Observer, UK).
In the breathtaking long story “The Street,” Tóibín imagines a relationship between Pakistani workers in Barcelona—a taboo affair in a community ruled by obedience and silence. In “Two Women,” an eminent and taciturn Irish set designer takes a job in her homeland and must confront emotions she has long repressed. “Silence” is a brilliant historical set piece about Lady Gregory, who tells the writer Henry James a confessional story at a dinner party.
Reviewed on the front page of The New York Times Book Review, The Empty Family will further cement Tóibín’s status as “his generation’s most gifted writer of love’s complicated, contradictory power” ( Los Angeles Times ).
Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: A young woman returning to the small island of her childhood summers; a nephew caring for his dying aunt; two men cautiously discovering love amid a community shrouded in tradition--these are the delicately rendered characters inhabiting Colm Toibin's remarkable collection of short stories, The Empty Family. Toibin artfully constructs the quiet moments in the lives of individuals, examining the unexpected ways in which people become strangers to one another as families fragment, separate, and regenerate in new forms. With a tone that moves seamlessly between fervor and melancholy, Toibin examines the imperfect relationships of parents, children, lovers, and friends, and--with a befitting nod toward Henry James--the meaning of love in its many forms. In The Empty Family, Toibin proves once again that his mastery of language is matched only by his acute understanding of human longing. --Lynette Mong