Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland's high court, a completely legal creature who is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Toibin reconstructs the history of Eamon's relationships - with his father, his first 'girl', his wife and the children who barely know him. He gives us a family as minutely realized as any of John McGahern's and he writes about Eamon's affection for the Irish coast with such painterly skill that the land itself becomes a character."The novel is narrated dispassionately and with deceptive simplicity, moving between the public figure of the judge in his study and the terrible deaths of childhood...It is impossible to read Toibin without being moved, touched and finally changed" - Linda Grant, "Independent on Sunday". "Superbly accomplished. Exquisitely crafted...a small triumph of intensity" - "Observer". "A quiet but stunning Irish novel, which seems to derive its clear and affecting style in part from the staunch personality of its protagonist" - "New Yorker".