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8 Reviews
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4 star:
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2 star:
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down
Beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. I bought this book when I was delayed at Dublin airport and the time just flew by as I was so engrossed in it. I enjoyed 'Brooklyn' and this book is equally as good. Highly recommended.
Published on 5 Dec. 2011 by Nicky Dorrian

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing collection
I read Colm Toíbín (CT)'s collection of short stories and another by Annie Proulx (AP) in the same week. Both are much decorated writers with novels like "Brooklyn" (CT) and "The Shipping News"(AP) to their name. But enjoying their short stories is something else. I loved AP's, whose focus in novels and stories alike, is on poor people in cold US states...
Published on 30 Mar. 2012 by Alfred J. Kwak


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down, 5 Dec. 2011
By 
Nicky Dorrian (Dundee Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Paperback)
Beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. I bought this book when I was delayed at Dublin airport and the time just flew by as I was so engrossed in it. I enjoyed 'Brooklyn' and this book is equally as good. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing collection, 30 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Paperback)
I read Colm Toíbín (CT)'s collection of short stories and another by Annie Proulx (AP) in the same week. Both are much decorated writers with novels like "Brooklyn" (CT) and "The Shipping News"(AP) to their name. But enjoying their short stories is something else. I loved AP's, whose focus in novels and stories alike, is on poor people in cold US states trying to make a living with their hands, against all odds, in farming, ranching, fishing, any other manual job. AP is a keen researcher who creates instant atmosphere, plottting well, writing good dialogues.
CT's story collection lacks her passion and most of the other ingredients. His collection is beautifully written. Some of his stories are endearing, eg the opening story about his poor youth and another about the slow demise of an aunt. But in other stories the hero is a self-centered person, like the 77.5- year old Irish filmset designer confronting the successor of her only love in life in Wicklow, Ireland. Or the girl returning to her Spanish family after nine years of political exile in the UK.
CT's stories about his coming out and practicing same-sex love are mostly cold and cynical. The much lamented NL-author Gerard Reve sometimes wrote 17 drafts before submitting stories or books celebrating his orientation. Early in his career, he shocked the nation by adding religious and philosophical dimensions to his carnal desires, but from the 1970s his novels sold well, because he described the desire graphically, not the act.
In "The Empty Family", CT did none of the above. His gay orientation is described only once warmly, in other stories in a crude, cold fashion. Even in terms of writing about gay lifestyles, CT is trumped by AP's story "Two Cowboys", later published as "Brokeback Mountain" and made into a movie. This reader gradually lost interest in this collection full of self love, without clear focus or passion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful storyteller, but..., 31 Dec. 2013
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Of course Tóibín is a wonderful storyteller and I was hooked by all the tales in this book, but personally I could have done without some of the graphic intimate details, but I guess I'm just too squeamish!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic and moving, 5 Mar. 2013
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A book full of alienated and alienating characters. Are they alone through choice or accident of place? The ambivalence is part of the fun of the book. Beautifully written as always and deeply thought-provoking from the point of view of an Irish emigrant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Paperback)
Excellent
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 15 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Paperback)
Would have to ask daughter who asked for this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Dec. 2014
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Most enjoyable.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Paperback)
good
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The Empty Family: Stories
The Empty Family: Stories by Colm Tóibín (Paperback - 30 Jun. 2011)
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