One of the best memories I have of New York is listening to the Irish writers Colm Toibin and Colum McCann speak at Symphony Space last Spring with Anna and Amanda. And Colum McCann liked Amanda's scarf. We were collectively thrilled. If you have never read anything by Colm Toibin, start with Brooklyn. And then move to The Master (fictional portrayal of Henry James). Colm Toibin consistently writes about the Irish immigrant and the shifting notion of home. The stories in The Empty Family are, as you might expect, rather gloomy and several stories might not be for everyone. But then again, most short stories are rather gloomy which is probably why I love them so much.