‘A Priest In The Family’ by Colm Tóibín

A Priest In The Family by Colm Tóibín, 2006

The magic trick:

Showing a woman’s life to be a house of cards

Today, we have a central character who is set up to fail. We see it coming from the start, and it’s very sad. She has built her life around rationalization. She does it well, but it’s a house of cards.

The story never says any of that. Instead we see the situation play out before our very eyes over the course of 12 pages.

And that’s quite a trick on Tóibín’s part.

The selection:

‘Look at you, Molly. You’ve gone all modern,’ one of them said.

‘You have to keep up with what’s going on,’ she said.

‘You never liked missing anything, Molly. You’ll get all the news from that now.’

She faced the computer and began to practice opening her Hotmail account, as Miriam went to attend to the women, and she did not turn again when she heard them browsing among the stacks of books, speaking to one another in hushed voices.


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