Colm Toibin's new and challenging collection of stories paint rich and textured portraits of individuals at different pivotal moments in their lives. In each case, Toibin shows how their relationship with either a mother or a son, or their relationship to their own role as mother or son, reveals something unique and important about them. The stories feature Ireland or Irish narrators, but they are also truly universal.
In `Famous Blue Raincoat' unwelcome memories are stirred when a mother, once a singer in an Irish folk-rock band of some popular renown in the 60s, finds that her son has been listening to their old records - songs she hoped never to hear again. In `Water', a son buries his mother and goes out to a drug-fuelled rave on a remote beach outside Dublin. In the course of this one night his grief and desire for raw feeling combine with exquisite and devastating intensity.
At once beautifully playful, psychologically intricate, emotionally incisive, finely-wrought and fearless these stories tease out the delicate and difficult strands which are woven between mothers and sons. Sometimes shocking and always powerful, this masterful new collection confirms Toibin as great prose stylist of our time.
Praise for The Master:
`An audacious, profound, and wonderfully intelligent book' Hermione Lee, Guardian
`The Master is not short of a masterpiece' Independent on Sunday
Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of several novels, including Brooklyn, the 2009 Costa Novel of the Year, The Master, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize and winner of the LA Times Book Prize and the IMPAC Book Award, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize and the 2001 IMPAC Award. His non-fiction includes Bad Blood, Homage to Barcelona, The Sign of the Cross and Love in a Dark Time. He is also the author of two short-story collections, Mothers and Sons, which was awarded the inaugural Edge Hill Prize, and The Empty Family, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. He lives in Dublin.