The World According to Colm
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Published in: July-August 2023 issue.

by Colm Tóibín
Scribner. 336 pages, $28.

COLM TÓIBÍN has a calm, mildly humorous voice in several genres and as a literary critic and professor. He’s probably best known for his descriptions of his native Ireland in novels about women—The Blackwater Lightship, Nora Webster, and Brooklyn (which was made into a movie starring Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish immigrant to New York City in the 1950s)—as well as his novels exploring the lives of two influential 20th-century writers, Henry James and Thomas Mann.

            In this collection of essays, originally published from 1995 to 2022, Tóibín discusses personal topics (his bout with cancer, the small town where he grew up) and public topics (the legal status of homosexuality in Ireland, priests and popes, the work of other writers). As an openly gay man from a notoriously homophobic culture, he seems to have found a certain comfort level as a citizen of the world with an engaging public persona. He divides his time among homes in Ireland, New York, Los Angeles, and Spain.

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Jean Roberta is a widely published author based in Regina, Sas-katchewan, Canada.