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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine collection of short stories with much to hold the reader's interest
I often find short-story collections disappointing, mainly because so many writers try to create impact by giving their work an unwarranted novelty or quirkiness. In Ireland at least however, there is a long tradition of short story writing which tends towards the calm and reflective, providing illuminating windows on to life with far greater integrity than those writers...
Published on 2 Dec 2010 by A Common Reader

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usual high quality writing, could do with a couple of stories trimming
This new short story collection from Colm Toibin concerns itself with the idea of family, the majority of the works contained are about someone returning home to family. Set mainly in Ireland and Barcelona, both places Toibin has lived, it is tempting to think of them as autobiographical, particularly as the protagonists are often the stereotypical misunderstood gay Irish...
Published on 27 Mar 2011 by Mingo Bingo


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Triumph From Tobin, 4 April 2011
This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
Yet again, Colm Tobin proves that he is on of the most compelling story tellers writing in the english language today with this collection of short stories which move and intrigue the reader. He deals with love and loss like no other writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely short stories, 22 Mar 2011
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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Having recently read the novel Brooklyn by this author, which was the first work by him that I had read, and which I very much enjoyed, it was wonderful to then have the chance to read more by him.
The Empty Family contains nine short stories, which are not my favourite format, preferring a lengthy story to get my teeth into. But, these I tried and certainly enjoyed.
Like Brooklyn, they are beautifully written, understated, tinged with sadness, moving, and exploring fundamental human experiences such as leaving or returning to one's home, and the themes of solitude, loneliness and family. As other reviewers have said, some of the stories may touch you more than others, and it is a lovely collection to dip into and find what appeals or speaks to you from within it. I will definitely revisit the stories to see what else I get out of them on rereading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stories, 20 Nov 2010
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D. Evans "dantheman95" (Southport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
Award winning author Colm Toibin follow up to the novel Brooklyn published in 2009, is a collection of short stories. Most feature middle aged characters, the stories include one about migrant workers in Pakistan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 12 Nov 2010
By 
Free Spirit "shilo115" (North Wales, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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Colm Toibin is an award winning writer and I can understand why. This book is a collection of stories which are well written. Every day lives and consequences narrated in a simple and effective way.

This is a book you can dip into at any time, the stories span only a few pages so if you are a bit pressed for time but want a good read then this is perfect for you.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, pity about the sexual explicitness, 29 Sep 2010
By 
Alan Pavelin (Chislehurst, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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Colm Toibin, whose novel Brooklyn was a critical and commercial success, is a beautiful prose writer, as befits an admirer of Henry James. This collection of 9 short stories (the last, The Street, being much longer than the others) all centre on displaced characters either returning home after a period in exile, or living in a new city. The stories are poignant, elegiac, lacking sudden plot-twists at the end. Five of the protaganists are gay. there is a mixture of first- and third-person narratives, while the settings range from Dublin to Barcelona to the USA.
For me the most interesting story is Silence, which begins with a quote from Henry James' notebooks about a meeting with Lady Gregory (famous for associations with Yeats and the Abbey Theatre). Toibin imagines what might have led up to the story she told James, and on reflection it may very well have been basically true.
I might have awarded 5 stars, but I do not like the sexual explicitness which dominates one story and appears in two others, which I think is not necessary, and with no indication of this on the cover. The fact that it is gay sex is not relevant, I would equally have objected had it been "straight". Just a warning to anyone else who objects to this.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Felt a bit empty at the end, 24 April 2013
This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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I haven't read Toibin before this collection and I do wonder if I might enjoy his longer prose more, as these stories just left me thinking "Oh. Is that it?" That's not to say that they're not well-written; little snapshots of lives which are like miniature portraits, intricately painted, but there just isn't very much to them. It doesn't help that, for me, Toibin's characters were rather dull and unsympathetic, and as a result I didn't care what happened to them. I was reading for the writing, rather than what was actually written, if that makes any sense. Like admiring a cake because it looks nice, but it tastes rather bland.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, especially for those who love Irish short stories, 18 April 2013
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Richard Murphy (Winchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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As someone who grew up in Co Wexford, I have always loved the writing of Colm Toibin, who captures the real spirit of Irish story telling.

Here again he brings real pleasure, even with the challenging stories. Well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Snapshots, 19 Dec 2012
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P. McCauley - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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People often find it more difficult to connect to short stories than novels. They're snapshots, they don't give you time for character development over hundreds of pages, they don't allow for intricate plots and subplots. And yet if you can appreciate the short story form for what it is, a snapshot, then you will definitely appreciate this gem of a book. As far as stories go, this collection offers a series of tales about characters lost or adrift in a world that never quite seems to fulfill them, and yet Tóibín carries it off in such a delicate way as to make you feel he is mirroring real life moments we can relate to. Worth a read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Family relationships beautifully described, 21 Jun 2012
By 
Jeff Markham (Walton-on-Thames, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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Colim Toibin has a way of describing the emptiness surrounding the main characters. Simple stories but emotionally haunting. Charaters are beautifully described and in unusual situations. Very easy to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bare, austere, but very moving., 7 May 2011
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Self-help junkie (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Empty Family: Stories (Hardcover)
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This book has been so-well reviewed everywhere else that it hardly needs my comments adding to it. Suffice to say that I enjoyed every single one of the self-contained stories in this book. Toibin has an excellent, bare style that nevertheless conjures up others' worlds richly. If you enjoy good writing, I'm sure you'll love this.
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The Empty Family: Stories
The Empty Family: Stories by Colm Tóibín (Hardcover - 1 Oct 2010)
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