Monday, June 5, 2017

This Book Sneaks Up On The Reader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                I admire Colm Toibin's work, yet when I cite favorite authors of mine, his name never comes up.  Not because he isn't good, but because he has, as yet, to crack whatever barriers stand in his way of meeting my standards for fictional perfection.

                                He almost--but only almost!!!!!!!!--does it, with "The Empty Family."  Interestingly, this is collection of short stories, not a novel.  He may be one of those writers who paints better on a smaller canvass.  While "The Master" was engaging, I found "Brooklyn" almost trite.  That is a minority opinion I know, but, hey, it's my blog, so you get MY opinion, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Several things I have to hand to Toibin.  He is gay, and makes no bones about it, not even in his writing.  And he has a fixation on Henry James, what with "The Master," and the author's name turning up in one of the stories in this volume.  Also, in "Barcelona, 1975," and the lengthy "The Street," he demonstrates himself to be the best writer on homosexuality, or sexuality in general, since D.H. Lawrence.  Yes, I would put him on that high a pedestal.

                                 Many of the stories take place in Toibin's native Ireland, but it is when he ventures outside this realm that he really flies as a writer.  Maybe he should keep writing stories;  I will be interested to see where he ventures next.

                                  His literary world is dark, rather than lilting.  But its quality is absorbing!!!!!!!!!!!!

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