Colm Toibin's new book, The Empty Family, is a haunting collection of nine short stories that speaks to the connections we make with both people and places. It explores the idea that recognizing and acknowledging the profound influence both these aspects have on us leads us to be content with who we are. The high bar of expectation set by Tóibín's previous books is met if not surpassed by this latest work. Once again we are given the gift of wonderful writing, not only because of the journeys we are taken on but the way in which we travel.
All of the narrating characters share one common trait, they are solitary, self-controlled and stoic in nature. Yet as each tale unfolds, we not only see what they do and listen to what they say but are privy to what they think and so they become open to us in a poignant and intimate way. We witness each of them grapple with loss, ...
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