The Master by Colm Toibin

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Synopsis

Like Michael Cunningham in The Hours, Colm Tóibín captures the extraordinary mind and heart of a great writer. Brilliant and profoundly moving, The Master tells the story of Henry James, a man born into one of America's first intellectual families two decades before the Civil War. James left his country to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers.

In stunningly resonant prose, Tóibín captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married, never resolved his sexual identity, and whose forays into intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. The emotional intensity of Tóibín's portrait of James is riveting. Time and again, James, a master of psychological subtlety in his fiction, proves blind to his own heart and incapable of reconciling his dreams of passion with his own fragility.

Tóibín is "a great and humanizing writer" who describes complex relationships in "supple, beautifully modulated prose" (The Washington Post Book World). In The Master, he has written his most ambitious and heartbreaking novel, an extraordinarily inventive encounter with a character at the cusp of the modern age, elusive to his own friends and even family, yet astonishingly vivid in these pages.
 

About Colm Toibin

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Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; and The Testament of Mary, as well as two story collections. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.
 
Published December 21, 2010 by Scribner. 364 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History, Gay & Lesbian, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Master

Kirkus Reviews

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The Irish author (The Blackwater Lightship, 2000, etc.) finds a great subject in the life and sensibility of ineffably cosmopolitan American author Henry James.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Master

Publishers Weekly

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It's a bold writer indeed who dares to put himself inside the mind of novelist Henry James, but that is what Tóibín, highly talented Irish author of The He

Apr 19 2004 | Read Full Review of The Master

The New York Times

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Alone at the hub of Colm Toibin's novel stands Henry James, a man made cold by his ruthless dedication to his art.

Jun 20 2004 | Read Full Review of The Master

The New York Times

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In the title essay of a collection published this year, the novelist and critic David Lodge declared 2004 to have been “The Year of Henry James.” This was because 2004 saw the publication of two major “biographical” novels about James — “The Master,” by Colm Toibin, and Lodge’s own “Author, Autho...

Dec 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Master

The Guardian

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Edmund Gosse wonders if James himself might not have some secrets to protect, which would make the night boat to France attractive, but as James hears the details of the scandal, it is the fate of Wilde's abandoned children which touches his heart and imagination.

Feb 22 2004 | Read Full Review of The Master

Publishers Weekly

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It's a bold writer indeed who dares to put himself inside the mind of novelist Henry James, but that is what Tóibín, highly talented Irish author of The Heather Blazing and The Blackwater Lightship , has ventured here, with a remarkable degree of success.

| Read Full Review of The Master

BC Books

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In The Master, Colm Toibin offers the reader a style and content quite different from his other nove...

Jun 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Master

BC Books

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In The Master Colm Toibin manages to penetrate the creativity of Henry James, bringing his character to life via the creative process that seems to be at his very core.

Jun 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Master

Booklist Online

But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 170,000 reviews.

Apr 01 2004 | Read Full Review of The Master

SeniorWomen.com

The structure of fiction is always evident, but without the underlined absolute conclusions — what the modern reader has come to accept — though often James's contemporaries deplored ambiguities.

Oct 14 2015 | Read Full Review of The Master

Reader Rating for The Master
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