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The Master by Colm Tóibín
Published by Picador in 2005

In The Master, Colm Tóibín tells the story of Henry James, an American-born genius of the modern novel who became a connoisseur of exile, living among artists and aristocrats in Paris, Rome, Venice and London.

In January 1895 James anticipates the opening of his first play in London. He has never been so vulnerable, nor felt so deeply unsuited to the public gaze. When the production fails, he returns, chastened, to his writing desk. The result is a string of masterpieces, but they are produced at a high personal cost.

Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man whose artistic gifts made his career a triumph but whose private life was haunted by loneliness and longing, and whose sexual identity remained unresolved. Henry James circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, he was lauded and admired, yet his attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love.

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 hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart.

The Master was the winner of the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award – the world’s richest literary prize. The book also won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger for the best foreign novel published in 2005 in France.

Colm Tóibín was born in County Wexford in 1955 and lives in Dublin.

‘The Master is a portrait of Henry James that has the depth and finish of great sculpture.’ The Observer

‘The Master is not short of a masterpiece’ Independent on Sunday

‘In The Master, [Tóibín] brings James to life in a way that no straight biography could’ Esquire

By the same author
The Blackwater Lightship
The Heather Blazing
Love in a Dark Time
Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe
The South
The Story of the Night

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