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Poster for Harvard Book Store Presents Colm Tóibín

Harvard Book Store Presents Colm Tóibín

Coming on May 14

Run Time: 90 min.

Harvard Book Store Presents:

Colm Tóibín


Long Island: A Novel

Harvard Book Store welcomes COLM TÓIBÍN—award-winning author of Brooklyn, The Master, and The Magician, and Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University —for a discussion of his new novel Long Island.


There are two ticket options for this event. Books will be pre-signed by the author. There will not be a signing after the presentation.

Book Included: Admission for one and one hardcover copy of Long Island pre-signed by the author.

Admission Only: Admission for one.

About Long Island

Eilis Lacey is Irish, married to Tony Fiorello, a plumber and one of four Italian American brothers, all of whom live in neighboring houses on a cul-de-sac in Lindenhurst, Long Island, with their wives and children and Tony’s parents, a huge extended family that lives and works, eats and plays together. It is the spring of 1976 and Eilis, now in her forties with two teenage children, has no one to rely on in this still-new country. Though her ties to Ireland remain stronger than those that hold her to her new land and home, she has not returned in decades.

One day, when Tony is at his job and Eilis is in her home office doing her accounting, an Irishman comes to the door asking for her by name. He tells her that his wife is pregnant with Tony’s child and that when the baby is born, he will not raise it but instead deposit it on Eilis’s doorstep. It is what Eilis does—and what she refuses to do—in response to this stunning news that makes Tóibín’s novel so riveting.

Long Island is about longings unfulfilled, even unrecognized. The silences in Eilis’ life are thunderous and dangerous, and there’s no one more deft than Tóibín at giving them language. This is a gorgeous story of a woman alone in a marriage and the deepest bonds she rekindles on her return to the place and people she left behind, to ways of living and loving she thought she’d lost.

Praise for Long Island

“Colm Tóibín’s new book is his best yet. It kept me rapt all the way back from Mexico; it reads like the tensest of stage plays, but with all the pleasures of interiority that the novel form allows. I haven’t wanted to hug this many characters in a while.” —Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times and The Happy Couple

“The quiet, moving story is told from the perspectives of different characters, each with a heartbreaking inability to express what they truly desire. Note that you don’t need to have read Brooklyn to enjoy this follow-up.” —AARP

“Quietly devastating… Tóibín is brilliant at tallying the weight of what goes unsaid between people…and at using quotidian situations to illuminate longing as a universal and often-inescapable aspect of the human condition. Tóibín’s mastery is on full display here.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Tóibín writes with unparalleled fluidity and grace. Each character is intricately drawn with psychological acuity, emerging as fully, almost achingly human. Tóibín is a philosopher of the soul. He understands the complex emotions, the dreams, fear, doubt, and hope that drive human activity. Eilis is complicated, fearless, and compelling, much like her brilliant creator. Readers will be thrilled by Tóibín’s return to the story of Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey.” —Booklist, STARRED review

“An acclaimed novelist revisits the central characters of his best-known work… Eilis’ fate is determined in a plot twist worthy of Edith Wharton…the author is a master of quiet, restrained prose, calmly observing the mores and mindsets of provincial Ireland, not much changed from the 1950s. A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.” —Kirkus, STARRED review

“You don’t have to have read Brooklyn to enjoy the many pleasures of Long Island. It is a masterful novel full of longing and regret. A tale of lovers reconnecting, of compromise, and the settling that can come later in life. Intensely moving and yet full of restraint, I was sad to turn the final page.” —Douglas Stuart, author of Young Mungo and Shuggie Bain

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is the author of eleven novels, including Long Island; The Magician, winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster; as well as two story collections and several books of criticism. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and has been named as the Laureate for Irish Fiction for 2022–2024 by the Arts Council of Ireland. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

Photo credit: Reynaldo Revera


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