Title: THE EMPTY FAMILY: STORIES - Scarce Pristine ...
Publisher: New York City, NY: Scribner, 2011
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 280 pages. Published in 2011. Retrospective collection of short stories. One of the greatest short story collections of our time. The first appearance of the title in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Colm Toibin's "The Empty Family". Nine stories which have received near-universal acclaim from fellow writers, critics, and readers. Some (but not all) of the stories are gay-themed even though Colm Toibin does not self-identify as a gay writer (because he isn't; he is instead a writer who happens to be gay), and his books are not shelved or ghetto-listed under "gay literature". At the same time, Toibin is uncompromising towards triumphalist gay readers and advocates as well as the general audience in his depiction of gay lives that are fragile, corrupted, and broken, just like straight lives, with humanity rather than sexuality being the real problem. It is often easily forgotten or taken for granted that Toibin's unflinching yet sympathetic portraits of Ireland are unsurpassed among writers of his generation. His women characters are not a male or gay writer's fantasy projections but real women drawn from real life. Apart from his exquisite prose, Toibin's technique of telling one story in full while alluding to another in passing is nothing less than a fresh way of re-telling what is otherwise a familiar, even banal theme: The very human need for and ultimate failure of love. In Toibin's masterly hands, the story that is alluded to is of as much interest, if not even more so, as the main narrative. In the eponymous piece, the "narrated" and "suggested" stories are given nearly equal emphasis, in impressionistic writing of the most allusive kind. In the longest piece, "The Street", Toibin has written a 72-page novella that he has nevertheless decided to call a short story, as Alice Munro, one of his mentors, calls longer pieces. "This is some of Toibin's most beautiful and heart-stopping writing. The story, 'The Street', is one of the great love stories of our time, gay or straight" (Edmund White). An absolute "must-have" title for Colm Toibin collectors. This copy is very prominently, neatly, and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Colm Toibin. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page or bookplate. Laid-in is a copy of the New York Public Library Souvenir Program of the event during which the signing was held. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of few such signed copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce signed copy thus. One of the greatest writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER COLM TOIBIN TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 143913832X. Bookseller Inventory # 16315
Synopsis: Colm Tóibín?s exquisitely written new stories, set in present-day Ireland, 1970s Spain and nineteenthcentury England, are about people linked by love, loneliness and desire. Tóibín is a master at portraying mute emotion, intense intimacies that remain unacknowledged or unspoken. In this stunning collection, he cements his status as ?his generation?s most gifted writer of love?s complicated, contradictory power? (Los Angeles Times).
?Silence? is a brilliant historical set piece about Lady Gregory, widowed and abandoned by her lover, who tells the writer Henry James a confessional story at a dinner party. In ?Two Women,? an eminent Irish set designer, aloof and prickly, takes a job in her homeland, and is forced to confront devastating emotions she has long repressed. ?The New Spain? is the story of an intransigent woman who returns home after a decade in exile and shatters the fragile peace her family has forged in the post-Franco world. And in the breathtaking long story ?The Street,? Tóibín imagines a startling relationship between two Pakistani workers in Barcelona?a taboo affair in a community ruled by obedience and silence.
Tóibín?s characters are often difficult and combative, compelled to disguise their vulnerability and longings. Yet he unmasks them, and in doing so offers us a set of extraordinarily moving stories that remind us of the fragility and individuality of human life. As The New York Review of Books has said, Tóibín ?understands the tenuousness of love and comfort?and, after everything, its necessity.?
Review: Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2011: A young woman returning to the small island of her childhood summers; a nephew caring for his dying aunt; two men cautiously discovering love amid a community shrouded in tradition--these are the delicately rendered characters inhabiting Colm Toibin's remarkable collection of short stories, The Empty Family. Toibin artfully constructs the quiet moments in the lives of individuals, examining the unexpected ways in which people become strangers to one another as families fragment, separate, and regenerate in new forms. With a tone that moves seamlessly between fervor and melancholy, Toibin examines the imperfect relationships of parents, children, lovers, and friends, and--with a befitting nod toward Henry James--the meaning of love in its many forms. In The Empty Family, Toibin proves once again that his mastery of language is matched only by his acute understanding of human longing. --Lynette Mong
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