The Empty Family

Colm Toibin, Author
Colm Tóibín, Scribner, $24 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4391-3832-8
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7710-8407-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-7710-8435-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4391-4983-6
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-7710-8434-8
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7710-8433-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-3728-2
Paperback - 275 pages - 978-1-4391-9596-3
Hardcover - 978-1-4423-3992-7
Hardcover - 978-0-670-91965-9
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Tóibín 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 Tóibín as heir to William Trevor, with reverberations that show how life encompasses more than the living. (Jan.)
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