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In the first story, "The Use of Reason," a lifelong burglar is nearly brought down by his mother, who talks too much when she drinks in her local pub. In "A Song," Noel, on the town with a group of his musician friends, ends up in the same bar as his estranged mother, who is asked to sing. She sings an Irish ballad about love and treachery and he is convinced that she is singing directly to him. In "A Priest in the Family," Molly's son Frank is accused of abuse, but no one has the courage to tell her until it is almost time for the trial. Her reaction is not entirely predictable. "Three Friends" takes place after a young man attends his mother's funeral. He joins his friends for a night of carousing and drugs ending with a late-night swim, where he is emboldened to make an overt sexual pass at one of his buddies, with interesting results. The final story, "A Long Winter," is set in Spain in a remote village. Miquel's mother drinks. Everyone knows it but Miquel. His father pours out her supply of booze and she leaves the house. So far it's a simple story. It doesn't stay that way. Each of these stories has its own gravitas, its own sadness, and that laser-beam of insight that is Toíbín's trademark. --Valerie Ryan
Colm Toibin is an outstanding writer. He draws you in with his words and keeps you. His prose is beautifully crafted making reading his work a pleasure. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Louis Rowles
Very enjoyable short stories. I bought it to honor my mom this Mother's Day, 2015. The stories seem to end abruptly though, for my taste. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Rian McGonigal
this kindle edition didn't have a story that a reviewer said was in it, which was whole reason I ordered it as a kindle. So I was disappointed about that. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Sheila B
good writer---some stories in this collection of short stories were interesting and some odd---the authors gayness comes out in creepy ways.Published 21 months ago by James H. Schultz
Just did not find the first two short stories fabulous. I have sons and know my relationship with each of my sons; different with each one. Read morePublished on September 27, 2013 by Ellie
this book of short stories by Colm Toibin is a good one. Toibin writes without wasting a word, he writes about Ireland and not the rich ones, usually, and their struggles to... Read morePublished on September 22, 2013 by Renato Baserga