The Empty Family
Critics praised Brooklyn as a “beautifully rendered portrait of Brooklyn and provincial Ireland in the 1950s.” In The Empty Family, Tóibín has extended his imagination further, offering an incredible range of periods and characters—people linked by love, loneliness, desire—“the unvarying dilemmas of the human heart” ( The Observer, UK).
In the breathtaking long story “The Street,” Tóibín imagines a relationship between Pakistani workers in Barcelona—a taboo affair in a community ruled by obedience and silence. In “Two Women,” an eminent and taciturn Irish set designer takes a job in her homeland and must confront emotions she has long repressed. “Silence” is a brilliant historical set piece about Lady Gregory, who tells the writer Henry James a confessional story at a dinner party.
Reviewed on the front page of The New York Times Book Review, The Empty Family will further cement Tóibín’s status as “his generation’s most gifted writer of love’s complicated, contradictory power” ( Los Angeles Times ).
Read an Excerpt
34 DVG, January 23d, 1894
Another incident—“subject”—related to me by Lady G. was that of the eminent London clergyman who on the Dover-to-Calais steamer, starting on his wedding tour, picked up on the deck a letter addressed to his wife, while she was below, and finding it to be from an old lover, and very ardent (an engagement—a rupture, a relation, in short), of which he never had been told, took the line of sending her, from Paris, straight back to her parents—without having touched her—on the ground that he had been deceived. He ended, subsequently, by taking her... see more