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About Colm Tóibín
Colm Tóibín is the author of four previous novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.
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Books By Colm Tóibín
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 FOLIO PRIZE
The heartbreaking new novel from the author of Brooklyn.
"This is his best yet." Spectator, Books of the Year
"So rich, so observant, so moving" Observer, Books of the Year
"A fine companion piece to his acclaimed novel, Brooklyn ... Subtle and enthralling" Sunday Times, Books of the Year
It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them.
Slowly, through the gift of music and the power of friendship, she finds a glimmer of hope and a way of starting again. As the dynamic of the family changes, she seems both fiercely self-possessed but also a figure of great moral ambiguity, making her one of the most memorable heroines in contemporary fiction.
The portrait that is painted in the years that follow is harrowing, piercingly insightful, always tender and deeply true. Nora Webster is a novel that illuminates our own lives in a way that is rare in literature. Its humanity and compassion forge an unforgettable reading experience.
MORE PRAISE FOR NORA WEBSTER
"If there is a more brilliant writer than Tóibín working today, I don't know who that would be" Irish Times, Books of the Year
"Tender, delicately oblique in its narration, and exquisitely well-written" The Times
"A luminous, elliptical novel in which everyday life manages, in moments, to approach the mystical" Jennifer Egan, New York Times
"Beautiful and heartbreaking." Independent
"Arresting. As this novel movingly proposes, there are no ordinary women and no ordinary lives" Irish Indendent
"The story is so expertly crafted that it achieves a luminous intensity, which lingers long in the memory" Mail on Sunday
"[A] love story and a love letter . . . from one of Ireland's contemporary masters" Observer
"This novel is the real thing, rare and tremendous . . . It does everything we ought to ask of a great novel: that it respond to the fullness of our lives, be as large as life itself" Guardian, Book of the Week
The Sunday Times Novel of the Year 2009
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, WINNER OF THE BAFTA FOR BEST BRITISH FILM
"The most compelling and moving portrait of a young woman I have read in a long time" Guardian, Books of the Year
Young Eilis Lacey dreams of life beyond the confines of her tiny Irish village, but unlike her beautiful sister, Rose, Eilis' gifts are of a more practical nature: she has a head for numbers, and is a loving and dutiful daughter. Yet her ambition cannot be hidden and soon is noted by the Parish Priest, Father Flood. Via a church contact, he arranges for Eilis to travel to America where a job opportunity has arisen in New York with a reputable "merchant of Italian origin".
Eilis finds lodgings in an eccentric boarding house and ekes out an existence in the cosmopolitan melting pot that is 1950s Brooklyn, impressing her employer, outwitting her landlady, and even falling in love. It seems her dream is truly becoming a reality. But then fate intervenes: a family crisis back home forces Eilis to make a choice between the past and the future, the old world and the new.
Told with a masterful and elegant simplicity, Brooklyn is a sublime Trans-Atlantic coming-of-age story by one of the UK's greatest living writers.
MORE PRAISE FOR BROOKLYN
"A work of such skill, understatement and sly jewelled merriment, it could haunt your life" Ali Smith, Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year
"Suffused with humane depth, funny, affecting, deftly plotted . . . a novel of magnificent accomplishment" Peter Kemp, Sunday Times, Novel of the Year
"Brooklyn moved me more than any other book this year" Nicholas Hytner, Observer, Books of the Year
"No book this year gave me greater pleasure" Nell Freudenberger, Financial Times
"Not a sentence or a thought out of place. It takes over as his finest fiction to date" Irish Times
"Remarkable freshness and immediacy ... with a lovely comedic lightness" Daily Mail
"A lovely, thoughtful book ... alive with authentic detail, moved along by the ripples of affection and doubt that shape any life: a novel that offers the reader serious pleasure" Daily Telegraph
"Tremendously moving and powerful" New Statesman
This was the night train to Barcelona, some hours before the dawn. This was 1950, late September. I had left my husband. I had left my home.
Katherine Proctor has dared to leave her family in Ireland and reach out for a new life. Determined to become an artist, she flees to Spain, where she meets Miguel, a passionate man who has fought for his own freedoms. They retreat to the quiet intensity of the mountains and begin to build a life together. But as Miguel's past catches up with him, Katherine too is forced to re-examine her relationships: with her lover, her painting and the homeland she only thought she knew. . .
The South is the book that introduced readers to the astonishing gifts of Colm Tóibín, winning the Irish Times First Fiction Award in 1991. Arrestingly visual and enduringly atmospheric, it is a classic novel of art, sacrifice, and courage.
From the bestselling and award-winning author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster
"If there is a more brilliant writer than Toibin working today, I don't know who that would be" Karen Joy Fowler, Irish Times
"Tóibín creates suspense out of the simplest emotions: fear, love and, most poignantly, regret" TIME
From the thrilling imagination of bestselling, award-winning Colm Tóibín comes this ambitious, violent and modern retelling of one of our oldest and most enduring stories.
I HAVE BEEN ACQUAINTED WITH THE SMELL OF DEATH.
Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, the murderess Clytemnestra tells of the deception of Agamemnon, how he sacrificed her eldest daughter - her beloved Iphigenia - to the Trojan campaign; how Clytemnestra used what power she had, seducing the prisoner Aegisthus, turning the government against its lord; plotting the many long years until her beacon fires announce the king's return ...
Electra, daughter of a murdered father, loyal subject of the rightful king, studies Clytemnestra and her lover with cold anger and slow-burning cunning. She watches as they walk the gardens and corridors of the palace. She waits for the traitors to become complacent, to believe they are finally safe; she waits for her exiled brother, Orestes, for the boy to become a warrior, for fate to follow him home. She watches and she waits, until her spies announce her brother's return ...
In Ireland, a man of reason is drawn to a true mystery older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge in this enthralling story about ethereal secrets by New York Times bestselling author Colm Tóibín.
During the winter solstice, on the shortest day and longest night of the year, the ancient burial chamber at Newgrange is empowered. Its mystifying source is a haunting tale told by locals.
Professor O’Kelly believes an archaeologist’s job is to make known only what can be proved. He is undeterred by ghost stories, idle speculation, and caution. Much to the chagrin of the living souls in County Meath. As well as those entombed in the sacred darkness of Newgrange itself. They’re determined to protect the secret of the light, guarded for more than five thousand years. And they know O’Kelly is coming for it.
'I imagined lamplight, shadows, soft voices, clothes put away, the low sound of late news on the radio. And I thought as I crossed the bridge at Baggot Street to face the last stretch of my own journey home that no matter what I had done, I had not done that.'
In the nine captivating stories that make up The Empty Family, Colm Toibin delineates with a tender and unique sensibility lives of unspoken or unconscious longing, of individuals, often willingly, cast adrift from their history.
From the young Pakistani immigrant who seeks some kind of permanence in a strange town to the Irish woman reluctantly returning to Dublin and discovering a city that refuses to acknowledge her long absence, each of Toibin's stories manages to contain whole worlds: stories of fleeing the past and returning home, of family threads lost and ultimately regained.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2013
"A heartfelt, powerful work." The Wall Street Journal
"Lovely, understated and powerfully sad, The Testament of Mary finally gives the mother of Jesus a chance to speak." NPR
In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.
As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
MORE PRAISE FOR THE TESTAMENT OF MARY
"Toibin is at his lyrical best in The Testament of Mary, a beautiful and daring work ... it takes its power from the surprises of its language, its almost shocking characterization, its austere refusal of consolation." The New York Times Book Review
"Dramatic and poetic ... A powerful, devastating story." The Washington Post
"A slim, grave, exquisitely emotional book ... The Testament of Mary is a spellbinding, surprisingly reverent book." Entertainment Weekly
"[A] monumental achievement ... equally powerful and poignant whether it's read by one who espouses or eschews the New Testament ... A tender, soul-rending exploration of a mother's mourning; a searing, stunning work." The Independent
"The Testament of Mary is an important and persuasive book: Toibin's weary Mary, sceptical and grudging, reads as far more true and real than the saintly perpetual virgin of legend. And Toibin is a wonderful writer: as ever, his lyrical and moving prose is the real miracle." Naomi Alderman, Observer
'A father...is a necessary evil.' Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses
William Butler Yeats' father was an impoverished artist, an inveterate letter writer, and a man crippled by his inability to ever finish a painting.
Oscar Wilde's father was a doctor, a brilliant statistician and amateur archaeologist who was taken to court by an obsessed lover in a strange foreshadowing of events that would later befall his son.
The father of James Joyce was a garrulous, hard-drinking man with a violent temper, unable or unwilling to provide for his large family, who eventually drove his son from Ireland.
In Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know, Colm Tóibín presents an illuminating, intimate study of Irish culture, history and literature told through the lives and works of Ireland's most famous sons, and the complicated, influential relationships they each maintained with their fathers.
'A supple, subtle thinker, alive to hunts and undertones, wary of absolute truths.' New Statesman
'Tóibín writes about writers' families...with great subtlety and sometimes with splendid impudence.' Sunday Telegraph
The Master es la inimitable mirada de un espléndido escritor, Colm Tóibín, a la vida de uno de los artistas más emblemáticos: Henry James.
Podemos imaginarlo por las calles de Londres, intentando buscar consuelo al fracaso de su obra teatral. Más tarde lo vemos caminar por Venecia, cruzando puentes para ir a una recepción fastuosa y aburrida, o rastreando en las aguas de la laguna para dar con las prendas de una amiga que decidió despedirse de la vida. Luego lo encontramos en el estudio de su casa de campo en Rye, cruzando de arriba abajo la habitación en busca de la palabra adecuada, dejando que las letras serpenteen por el folio hasta que el párrafo entero galope.
Henry James está vivo y es nuestro gracias al talento de Colm Tóibín: aquí se despliega y respira el retrato de un hombre que había nacido en Estados Unidos pero hizo suya Europa, y allí vivió sus miedos, sus dudas antes de aceptar la felicidad, y la búsquedaobsesiva de una escritura limpia y honda. Henry James y Colm Tóibín: dos genios juntos en una sola novela, más allá del tiempo y del lugar que les tocó en suerte.
«Tengo subrayadas casi todas las páginas de sus obras maestras.»
«Una novela audaz, profunda y escandalosamente inteligente.»
«Este es un libro audaz, profundo y maravillosamente inteligente.»
Hermione Lee, The Guardian
«Indudablemente, esta es una obra de un novelista de primera línea »
Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Review of Books
«The Master, una encantadora ficción histórica que nos lleva a la personalidad detrás de aquellos grandes relatos como Retrato de una dama.»
«Uno empieza The Master y ya está en la conciencia de Henry James, y la mezcla de opacidad y transparencia que percibe tal vez se parezca mucho a la que el propio James sentía hacia sí mismo, perpetuamente revelándose y escondiéndose en sus veladoras de palabras, en sus historias en las que las cosas se dicen y al mismo tiempo no se dicen y la verdad última sobre los personajes o sus destinos queda inaccesible al otro lado de un umbral que no cruzaremos, aunque la puerta esté entornada.»
Antonio Muñoz Molina, El País
«El gran mérito del libro de Tóibín es que no nos acerca tanto a la vida de Henry James como a sus pensamientos, enfrentándolos a los acontecimientos de su vida.»
Pablo Martínez Zarracina, Sur
«Aunando la sutileza con la hondura psicológica y con una admirable destreza para construir una narración muy fluida en su desarrollo, Tóibín reconstruye el trazado de un personaje complejo como Henry James.»
Ysabel M, Anika entre libros
"Tóibin is a writer of extraordinary emotional clarity... These are beautiful stories, beautifully crafted" Literary Review
Mothers and Sons is a sensitive and beautifully written meditation on the dramas surrounding this most elemental of relationships. Each of the nine stories focuses on a moment in which an unspoken balance shifts; in which a mother or son do battle, or experience a sudden crisis, thus leaving their conception of who they are subtly or seriously altered.
A son buries his mother and goes out to a drug-fuelled rave on a remote beach near Dublin. In the course of this one night his grief and desire for raw feeling combine with exquisite intensity. A mother sings about treacherous love to a rapt crowd of musicians in a local pub. Her unacknowledged son meets her eyes, unable to approach her. And in A Long Winter, Colm Tóibin's finest piece of fiction to date, a son goes searching for his mother in the snow-covered Pyrenees.
Psychologically intricate and emotionally incisive, each finely wrought story teases out the delicate and difficult strands woven between mothers and sons. This is an acute, masterful and moving collection that confirms Tóibin as a great prose stylist of our time.