‘The sight of the waves miles out, their dutiful and frenetic solitude, their dull indifference to their fate, made me want to cry out… It came to me then that the sea is not a pattern, it is a struggle. Nothing matters against the fact of this. The waves were like people batttling out there, full of consciousness and will and destiny and an abiding sense of their own beauty.’

– Colm Tóibín, The Empty Family

‘The moon hangs low over Texas. The moon is my mother. She is full tonight, and brighter than the brightest neon; there are folds of red in her vast amber. Maybe she is a harvest moon, a Comanche moon. I have never seen a moon so low and so full of her own deep brightness. My mother is six years dead tonight, and Ireland is six hours away and you are asleep.’

– Colm Tóibín, One Minus One, The Empty Family

‘I could feel that this going home to my mother’s bedside would not be simple, that some of our loves and attachments are elemental and beyond our choosing, and for that very reason they come spiced with pain and regret and need and hollowness and a feeling as close to anger as I will ever be able to manage.’

– Colm Tóibín, One Minus One, The Empty Family

‘She wondered if she was alone in having nothing in between the dullness of her own days and the sheer brilliance of this imagined life.’

– Colm Tóibín, Nora Webster