The Sign of the Cross
Between 1990 and 1994, Colm Tóibín made a series of trips through Catholic Europe. His journey led him into close contact with people from all walks of life, from priests to politicians, from the intellectually open to the spiritually bigoted. He then set down his impressions in The Sign of the Cross, a beautifully written book filled with personal detail set within its historical context.
Colm Tóibín writes beautifully in a spare style that allows for plain description, high humour and effects that are carefully toned. He is at once an honest, uncertain pilgrim with a press card and a sense of devilment, and a son on an Oedipal trail.
A mixture of autobiography, travelogue and journalism which tantalizes the reader with what it withholds as much as it entertains and instructs with what it describes . . . The Sign of the Cross, like all good writing, is a treat.
Independent on Sunday
This book describing Colm Tóibín’s journey is written with the novelist’s familiar clarity and wisdom. It is as much a record of the European Catholic psyche in different political climates as it is an introspective pilgrimage to see what stuff Tóibín’s own faith is made of.