Blank Pages: Book summary and reviews of Blank Pages by Bernard MacLaverty

Blank Pages

And Other Stories

by Bernard MacLaverty

Blank Pages by Bernard MacLaverty X
Blank Pages by Bernard MacLaverty
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2022
    272 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

A collection of twelve powerful and moving new stories from one of Ireland's most celebrated writers.

Tinged with melancholy but rooted in resiliency, the exquisite stories of Bernard MacLaverty's Blank Pages display the perseverance of the human spirit. In "A Love Picture," a middle-aged woman, already no stranger to loss, consults a World War II newsreel to determine the fate of her son. "Blackthorns" tells of a poor, out-of-work Catholic man who falls gravely ill in the sectarian Northern Ireland of 1942 but is brought back from the brink by an unlikely savior. The harrowing but transcendent "The End of Days" imagines life in another pandemic as artist Egon Schiele and his wife, both stricken with the Spanish flu, spend their final days together. And in the poignant title story, an elderly writer takes stock of what remains after losing his life partner.

Blank Pages elegantly probes MacLaverty's signature themes―domestic love, Catholicism, the Troubles, aging―with compassion and insight. A consummately gifted storyteller, MacLaverty uncovers the turbulent undertones of seemingly ordinary human interactions and explores endings of all kinds with tenderness, affection, and wry humor.

Acclaimed for his extraordinary emotional range and "telescopic observational powers" (Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal), MacLaverty captures the joys and sorrows of everyday existence in crystalline, precise prose. Each resonant story in Blank Pages reminds us again why he is regarded as one of the greatest living Irish writers.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Aging, illness, and death provide the recurring chords in this satisfying concerto of new stories...In his sixth collection, the 79-year-old, Belfast-born MacLaverty brings humor, sympathy, and an unshowy eloquence to the conventional short story...A fine collection by a true craftsman, thematically rich and deeply humane." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The 12 stories in this poignant, understated collection by Irish author MacLaverty direct a keen and compassionate eye toward characters who are approaching death...MacLaverty's tales come across as deceptively light at first, but they leave a lasting impression." - Publishers Weekly

"[MacLaverty's] care and deliberation show…He is a matchless observer of human details." - The Guardian (UK)

"Reading MacLaverty, we inhabit the characters' lives from the inside out, arriving at an exquisitely intimate sense of common humanity as we share the everyday mysteries they inhabit." - Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"Bernard MacLaverty locates the precise point where life bleeds into art, and art into life. Even in the briefest of his stories his themes emerge slowly, unforced, as if pondering themselves; like the best writers through the ages, he is confident and questioning, engaged and wise." - Hilary Mantel, author of The Mirror and the Light

"Bernard MacLaverty approaches his characters with sympathy and a sharpened sense of the inner life. The stories in Blank Pages approach aging, art, memory, regret with luminous precision and grace. MacLaverty works with meticulous care, like a portrait painter." - Colm Tóibín, author of The Magician

"These stories are filled with quiet, graceful beauty. They are the stuff of everything, both local and universal at the same time. MacLaverty is one of our great writers―he finds us at our moments of loss." - Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon

This information about Blank Pages shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Bernard MacLaverty Author Biography

Photo: James Anderson

Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five previous collections of stories and five novels, including Grace Notes, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Midwinter Break, shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Born in Ireland, he now lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Link to Bernard MacLaverty's Website

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