Rachel Cooke at The Guardian:
It’s all very meticulous, even his horror, which is considerable when it comes to the way the bishops covered up for their paedophile priests. On every subject, Tóibín’s writing is what people these days inevitably describe as nuanced, a word that has become a kind of shorthand for expressing a person’s rare ability to understand – or to try to understand – the foibles of others (how sad that this should be thought unusual). But he can be gripping, too. This country that censored the hell out of people’s hearts is so much his territory. If the speed with which the power of the church in Ireland has been undermined is still astonishing, it’s nevertheless important to consider the hold it may continue to have over those citizens – Tóibín is one – who remember when its authority was ironclad. In the end, this is a book of shadows: tumours in testicles, fog in Venice, expensively clad cardinals who may be up to no good.