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Publisher's Summary

This beautifully written, intensely intimate collection explores a subject of nearly universal experience: the psychological push and pull between a mother and a son.

Each story is centered on a transformative moment that alters the delicate balance of power in that relationship and changes the way mother and son perceive one another.

With exquisite grace and eloquence, Toibin writes of men and women bound by convention, by unspoken emotions, and by the stronghold of the past. Many are trapped in lives they would not choose again: if they ever chose at all. Through the unique lens of their complex mother-son relationship, surprising hidden facets of character are revealed.

Award-winning novelist Toibin brings to this stunning first collection of short works an acute understanding of human frailty and longing.

©2007 Colm Toibin (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Toibin's] exacting control over both form and material never varies...his adaptability in writing short or long, and in working with characters far different from one another, is astonishing...[A] rich but supple prose style seals each story's, and thus the collection's, absolute success." ( Booklist)

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah
  • Chambersburg, PA, United States
  • 06-11-08

Good Reader, Odd Endings

Toibin creates a series of interesting characters and situations in these short stories, all of which in some way touch upon the relationships between mothers and sons. There's a very Irish feel to most of them, and the reader is perfect. My only complaint is that the stories have no closure; they just STOP, at a seemingly random point. Several times I found myself wondering who a character was I hadn't heard mentioned before and what happened to the one I had just gotten invested in--only to realize I was in the next story. This may be avant garde or something, but I found it irritating after awhile.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful