Master, The

Toibin, Colm

  1 Reviews

Toibin turns a lifelong obsession with writer Henry James into a scrupulously researched and artfully rendered biographical novel. The narrator takes us inside the mind of James, focusing on his middle years around 1890 when he went from failure to renown. This book is a fictional study based on biographical materials, and family accounts.

Comments from Groups

An interesting reaction to this book, ranging from, "One of the best I've ever read', to " I just couldn't get into it". On the whole, we found it a gentle and moving book, intricately woven around the lives of James, his family, friends and contemporaries - very cleverly and delicately wrought by Toibin. We discussed the inadequacies of his 'hot-house' existence, and seeming inability to have any in-depth relationships... Coromandel 002

Good notes provoked good discussion. One of our best reads. Auckland 172

We all loved this book, although did not warm to Henry James - the man. Colm Toibin writes superbly. Good discussion - many issues raised. Diamond Harbour 001

We found it very 'waffley'; it meandered along, and never went anywhere! Only one person in our group finished it, so not highly recommended. Auckland 183

Beautiful writing. It stimulated good discussions on 19thC life, homosexuality, class systems and politics. We now want to read some of James' books. Christchurch 145

A very 'worthy' book, however we found it exceedingly 'dense' and difficult to get through. Some very interesting and fascinating sections. Auckland 133

We all felt this was a great book, well worth the fairly intense reading. It manages to catch the essence of a very private man. Compared well with a factual biography. Upper Hutt 002



WELL 178
Much appreciated by a small and vociferous group. Fascinating and appalling as far as the character goes; gripping and convincing in style. Lots of discussion about HJ, women, civil rights, and being gay. Ended up with everyone reading out our favourite bits.