Colm Tóibín & Lynne Tillman

May 01, 2011
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Colm Tóibín is a multi-award-winning Irish novelist, short story writer and critic. Tóibín is Leonard Milberg Lecturer in Irish Letters at Princetonis the author of the novel ‘The South’ and ‘Homage to Barcelona’. His other novels are: ‘The Heather Blazing’ ‘The Story of the Night’ ‘The Blackwater Lightship’ ‘The Master’ ‘Brooklyn.’ His short story collections are ‘Mothers and Sons’ and ‘The Empty Family’. His other books include: ‘The Modern Library: the 200 Best Novels Since 1950’; ‘Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush.’ ‘Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar’ and ‘All a Novelist Needs: Essays on Henry James. He reads from his collection of stories, ‘The Empty Family’

“Walking into solitude is not so difficult — even nowadays, with the digital contrails of voicemail and instant messaging. “I live alone now and I work hard,” writes a character in Colm Tóibín’s newest short-story collection, “The Empty Family.” “And when I am not working I am away. I do not see anyone I have no desire to see. It is easy to screen calls and avoid answering emails, and then they peter out.” This last matter, this slow deletion of personal relationships, is at the core of the nine stories in this collection, as Tóibín projects a slideshow of reclusive figures, many of whom have found that a life well-hid is a life sufficient. With a spare, eloquent style, he guides us through hotel lobbies and pensiónes from Dublin to Barcelona. He directs our attention to estranged family members, divorcées and Muslim immigrants, catching each of them at the moment in which they are forced to reckon with their pasts.The Los Angeles Times-
Lynne Tillman is a novelist, short story writer, and cultural critic.Tillman’s novels include No Lease on Life, Cast in Doubt, Motion Sickness, and Haunted Houses. Absence Makes the Heart is Tillman’s first collection of short stories. The Broad Picture is a collection of Tillman’s essays. Tillman’s nonfiction work, The Velvet Years: Warhol’s Factory 1965-1967 Tillman is the author of the nonfiction book The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co., a cultural and social history of a literary landmark where writers and artists congregated for nearly 20 years. Her other story collections are The Madame Realism Complex and, most recently, This Is Not It, stories written in response to the work of 22 contemporary artists. She is the author of the novel: American Genius, A Comedy. She reads from her collection: Someday This Will Be Funny
Lynne Tillman’s characters inhabit language the way others live in rooms and cities. It’s not that they are made only of words—all literary characters are—or that they don’t have their own versions of material longings, needs, attachments, and obstructions. What’s different is that they are attuned to language. They fraternize with words even when they are not talking. They treasure clichés and ready-made phrases as if they were messages or hints, turning them over to find their wisdom, or at least the joke wrapped inside them. In her collection This Is Not It (2002), when a woman makes a “last-minute decision,” she very soon wonders what a “first-minute decision” would look like. There is an echo of this thought in Tillman’s new story collection, Someday This Will Be Funny: “The decisive moment was an indecisive one for her.” We instantly start adding up our own moments of that sort, finding far too many.” --Michael Wood, Bookforum
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About the Series: KGB Bar Sunday Night Fiction

The KGB Bar Sunday Night Fiction showcases the finest in contemporary fiction from new and emerging writers.

Suzanne Dottino/fiction curator,