Colm Tóibín returns to Charlotte Square

This article is from 2009.

Colm Tóibín

Irish Booker nominee who tugs at heart-strings and exercises mind

This multi-award-winning scribe has focused on a wide range of themes over the years with Irish society, living abroad, loss and identity being just a few. But one aspect to his writing remains constant: the emotional impact it has on the reader. Since leaving his job as editor of Magill magazine, Colm Tóibín has gone on to pen a number of books, a play and short stories while also dabbling in non-fiction to become a prominent literary critic and lecturer. However, it is for affecting novels such as The Blackwater Lightship and The Master (both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize), that the writer is most well-known.

Tóibín continues to tug at the heart-strings and exercise the mind with his exquisitely-crafted latest offering Brooklyn. Set in the 1950s, he introduces us to Enniscorthy girl Eilis Lacey, whose life changes dramatically when she agrees to take a job in New York. What unfolds is a warm and thoughtful tale of loss, longing, true love and the difficult choice between personal freedom and family duty. It’s classic Tóibín, but also a successful experiment for the author as he flirts with new stylistic techniques, and is a recommended pick for both the uninitiated and the devoted alike.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 18 Aug, 8.30pm, £9 (£7).

Patrick McCabe & Colm Tóibín

FINE FICTION An immensely welcome return to the Book Festival by two superlative writers who explore small-town Ireland in their latest novels. Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn is a tender story of love and loss as his heroine is summoned home from her new life in the States. The Holy City by Patrick McCabe is the compelling and…

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