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Seven Reasons to Love This Great Irish Writer

Caitlin Kleinschmidt is part of the sales team at Workman Publishing. She has previously held positions at Viking/Riverhead, Simon & Schuster, Oxford University Press, and Macmillan. A Navy brat, she lived on both coasts and credits the Dear America series for her lifelong love of history. She has a special place in her heart for narrative nonfiction, as well as books about Eastern Europe and ballet.

St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate our favorite luminary of contemporary Irish literature. Acclaimed by critics and beloved by readers, Colm Tóibín’s novels and story collections have been adapted for stage and screen and three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. If you haven’t yet experienced his spare and insightful prose and riveting storytelling, now is the time to acquaint yourself with this great writer’s formidable body of work.


Brooklyn
by Colm Tóibín

Acclaimed character actress Saoirse Ronan takes center stage as Eilis Lacey, a young woman who abandons small-town Ireland and the comfort of her mother's home for the anonymous shores of New York City. In Brooklyn, she finds a city in flux—a city where immigrants from Ireland and Poland live amongst Jewish and black communities—and just as she is beginning to fall in love with a young man, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her new life.

Release Date: November 6, 2015

Brooklyn
Colm Tóibín

Acclaimed character actress Saoirse Ronan takes center stage as Eilis Lacey, a young woman who abandons small-town Ireland and the comfort of her mother's home for the anonymous shores of New York City. In Brooklyn, she finds a city in flux—a city where immigrants from Ireland and Poland live amongst Jewish and black communities—and just as she is beginning to fall in love with a young man, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her new life.

Release Date: November 6, 2015

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Seven Reasons to Love This Great Irish Writer

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Nora Webster
by Colm Tóibín

Set in the same village where Brooklyn begins, Colm Tóibín’s magnificent seventh novel introduces us to the formidable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty and with four children, Nora has lost the love of her life. Wounded but strong-willed, she is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her children. As she navigates the complexities of grief and loss, the novel shines with moments of courage, empathy, kindness, and hope.

Nora Webster
Colm Tóibín

Set in the same village where Brooklyn begins, Colm Tóibín’s magnificent seventh novel introduces us to the formidable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty and with four children, Nora has lost the love of her life. Wounded but strong-willed, she is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her children. As she navigates the complexities of grief and loss, the novel shines with moments of courage, empathy, kindness, and hope.

MENTIONED IN:

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The Master
by Colm Tóibín

As Michael Cunningham drew inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, Colm Tóibín captures the extraordinary mind and heart of Henry James in The Master. James was born into one of America’s foremost intellectual families two decades before the Civil War, but left his country to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers. With deep emotional intensity, Tóibín captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married and never resolved his sexual identity. Time and again, James, a master of psychological subtlety in his fiction, proves blind to his own heart. (Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize).

The Master
Colm Tóibín

As Michael Cunningham drew inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, Colm Tóibín captures the extraordinary mind and heart of Henry James in The Master. James was born into one of America’s foremost intellectual families two decades before the Civil War, but left his country to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers. With deep emotional intensity, Tóibín captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married and never resolved his sexual identity. Time and again, James, a master of psychological subtlety in his fiction, proves blind to his own heart. (Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize).

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Mothers and Sons
by Colm Tóibín

This story collection is a sensitive and beautifully written meditation on the dramas surrounding this most elemental of relationships. Psychologically intricate and emotionally incisive, each finely wrought story teases out the delicate and difficult strands woven between mothers and sons. Each of the nine stories centers on a transformative moment that alters the delicate balance of power between mother and son and changes the way each perceives the other.

Mothers and Sons
Colm Tóibín

This story collection is a sensitive and beautifully written meditation on the dramas surrounding this most elemental of relationships. Psychologically intricate and emotionally incisive, each finely wrought story teases out the delicate and difficult strands woven between mothers and sons. Each of the nine stories centers on a transformative moment that alters the delicate balance of power between mother and son and changes the way each perceives the other.

MENTIONED IN:

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The Blackwater Lightship
by Colm Tóibín

Set in Ireland in the early 1990s, this is the story of Helen, her mother, and her grandmother, who have come together after a decade of estrangement to tend to Helen’s beloved brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. Along with Declan’s two friends, the six of them, from different generations and with different beliefs, are forced to navigate the shoals of their own histories and come to terms with each other. Shortlisted for the 2000 Man Booker Prize and written in spare, luminous prose, The Blackwater Lightship explores the nature of love and the complex emotions of a family at war with itself.

The Blackwater Lightship
Colm Tóibín

Set in Ireland in the early 1990s, this is the story of Helen, her mother, and her grandmother, who have come together after a decade of estrangement to tend to Helen’s beloved brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. Along with Declan’s two friends, the six of them, from different generations and with different beliefs, are forced to navigate the shoals of their own histories and come to terms with each other. Shortlisted for the 2000 Man Booker Prize and written in spare, luminous prose, The Blackwater Lightship explores the nature of love and the complex emotions of a family at war with itself.

MENTIONED IN:

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The Heather Blazing
by Colm Tóibín

Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland’s high court who is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Tóibín reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships—with his father, his first “girl,” his wife, and the children who barely know him—and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the Irish coast with such painterly skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose.

The Heather Blazing
Colm Tóibín

Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland’s high court who is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Tóibín reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships—with his father, his first “girl,” his wife, and the children who barely know him—and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the Irish coast with such painterly skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose.

MENTIONED IN:

Seven Reasons to Love This Great Irish Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | March 17, 2015

Close

The Testament of Mary
by Colm Tóibín

Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and adapted into a Tony-nominated play, Tóibín’s provocative, haunting, and indelible portrait of Mary presents her as a solitary older woman seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Tóibín’s tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that your image of Mary will be forever transformed. Audiobook fans won’t want to miss Meryl Streep’s reading of this stunning work.

The Testament of Mary
Colm Tóibín

Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and adapted into a Tony-nominated play, Tóibín’s provocative, haunting, and indelible portrait of Mary presents her as a solitary older woman seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Tóibín’s tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that your image of Mary will be forever transformed. Audiobook fans won’t want to miss Meryl Streep’s reading of this stunning work.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Chris Gaudio | October 6, 2017

Seven Reasons to Love This Great Irish Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | March 17, 2015

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