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  • Beguiling and deeply intelligent...In a single passage - and in a rendition, furthermore, of one of the most famous passages of western literature - Tóibín shows how the telling and the details are all-important.

    Robert Collins, Sunday Times
  • Tóibín's weary Mary, sceptical and grudging, reads as far more true and real than the saintly perpetual virgin of legend. And Tóibín is a wonderful writer: as ever, his lyrical and moving prose is the real miracle.

    Naomi Alderman, Observer
  • This is a flawless work, touching, moving and terrifying.

    Linda Grant, New Statesman
  • There is a profound ache throughout this little character study, a steely determination coupled with an unbearable loss. Although it has some insightful things to say about religion and the period - the descriptions of the Crucifixion are visceral - it has a universal message about the nature of loss.

    Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday
  • This novel is the Virgin's version of the life of Christ. After a lifetime listening to everyone else's versions of that life, she is angry and frustrated because they are all questionable.

    Irish Independent
  • Toibin has created an impressive work of religious imagination...haunting, highly original.

  • Beautifully crafted

    The Times
  • Fearsomely strange, deeply thoughtful

  • With deceptively modest prose, Tóibín presents the Virgin Mary's story as one of human loss rather than salvation. By doing so he gives us a Mary to identify with rather than venerate.

  • Daring and very moving

    John Banville, "Books of the Year", Irish Times

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