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The Master (2004)

by Colm Tóibín

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,732883,723 (3.86)368
'The Master' is a portrait of a man who was elusive to both friends and family even as he remained astonishingly vibrant and alive in his art - a searching exploration of the mind before affairs of the heart.
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English (81)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (85)
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An interesting and engaging glimpse into Henry James's highly interior personal life and writing process. If you like historical fiction about authors or Jamesian style, you'll lke this. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
I really expected to love Colm Toibin's "The Master" -- I've liked other books by Toibin and I like Henry James. But I was somewhat disappointed because this really never came together for me. I found the James' style in Toibin's hands didn't work for me -- it became too slow and uninteresting and meditative for me to enjoy reading it.

I admire what Toibin was going for here, but ultimately it didn't make good reading for me. ( )
  amerynth | Nov 30, 2020 |
The Master by Colm Toibin tells the story of how author Henry James lived between January 1895 to October 1899. It opens with his unsuccessful venture into theatre with his play, “Guy Domville” and closes when he moves himself to relative seclusion in Rye, where over the next few years, he produced several of his masterpieces.

Toibin explores many aspects of James life, and as the novel unfolds in a third person narrative, the reader is constantly seeing his life, through his own eyes and memory. Although the book is a fictionalized version, it is based closely on Henry James life. His sexuality is alluded to and his inclinations were obviously to the same sex, but Toibin, in true repressed Victorian style, chose to have his sexuality remain unresolved.

I found The Master to be a reflective, thoughtful and subtle novel. Toibin chose to develop some key experiences in James’ life to give the reader a picture of this very private man. Yet, when he wrote about the creative process, I found it difficult to decipher where the break between author Toibin and author James existed. I believe there is a tremendous empathy toward James by Toibin and it was clear that Toibin admires the content and style of James’ writing. While I found this book interesting with beautiful, descriptive writing, I never quite warmed to the overall concept. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 10, 2020 |
I loved this one! My favorite read of January. This is one of those novels featuring a blend of truth and supposition that can bring a moment in time to life, letting the reader feel as if he or she is invading personal space. Here, Tóibín explores the life of Henry James, and it is brilliantly done. It has made me want to go back and reread James' masterpiece [Portrait of a Lady] - I was really unhappy with the ending of that one, and there is a conversation presented here between James and his niece (a precocious reader) about why he ended the novel the way that he did, and it elevated that novel for me. James drew so much of his writing from personal life, and here we get insights into what and who inspired some of his most famous characters and stories. Now I am wanting to read more about James and also [All a Novelist Needs: Colm Tóibín on Henry James], which is a collection of all of Tóibín's essays on James. ( )
  Crazymamie | Feb 8, 2020 |
I liked the book, what it was about and how it was read. But, if I'm completely honest, then I must admit that it has escaped me why this book was put on the 1001-list. It's a book by an author about another (famous) author, but I've read other books that I was in awe of much more. ( )
1 vote BoekenTrol71 | Jan 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
''The Master'' is sure to be greatly admired by James devotees; just as surely it will strike less ardent readers as the kind of book in which not much actually happens.
Whatever Toibin's literary-critical and ideological interest in James, ''The Master'' is unquestionably the work of a first-rate novelist -- one who has for the past decade been writing excellent novels about people cut off from their feelings or families or both.

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tóibín, Colmprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bandini, DitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bandini, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bok, Annekesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hope, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yankus, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Till Bairbre och Micheal Stack
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Sometimes in the night he dreamed about the dead--familiar faces and the others, half-forgotten ones, fleetingly summoned up.
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'The Master' is a portrait of a man who was elusive to both friends and family even as he remained astonishingly vibrant and alive in his art - a searching exploration of the mind before affairs of the heart.

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