Friday, March 27, 2015

The Empty Family - short stories by Colm Toibin

Continuing my desire to read Irish literature, I read this collection of short stories by Colm Toibin.  Generally I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I like his writing so I thought I would try them.  They kept my attention but for the most part I didn't love them.

My favourite was The Colour of Shadows which was about a young man who was raised by an aunt and returns to care for her in her last couple of years.  The relationship between the two - though much of it was unspoken - was very touching.

A few of the stories took place in Barcelona (or elsewhere in Spain) rather than Ireland and many of the stories were about gay relationships.  I didn't quite get the point of The New Spain - about a girl who returns to Spain following years of exile during the Franco era only to find her father has drastically changed the property her grandmother left to her and her sister and really only wants to deal with her now as he needs her permission to make more changes.  I did quite like The Street which dealt with Pakistani immigrants to Barcelona and the narrow lives of servitude they live.  The characters in that one were sympathetic.

If you like short stories these are good ones but if, like me, you prefer more developed material like you get in a novel, you might want to pass.

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