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Tóibín's novel Nora Webster due in 2014

1 of 1 Nora Webster is set in a small Irish town in the 1960s
Nora Webster is set in a small Irish town in the 1960s

Fans of Brooklyn and The Testament of Mary will be delighted to hear that Colm Tóibín’s next novel, Nora Webster, is due for publication by Penguin/Viking in October 2014. It's Ireland in the 1960s, and Nora Webster is living with her two young sons in a small town on the east coast of Ireland. The love of her life, Maurice, has just died and so she must forge a new life for herself.

She must learn how to deal with the endless procession of annoying visitors and with her unnerving aunt who has both helped and disturbed her children's daily life. But principally, she must learn how to give her sons a future as she tries to hold onto the past.  

As Nora returns to memories of the happiness of her early marriage, she recalls her own mother and the events that brought about a marked distance between them. Penguin/Viking books will publish Nora Webster, which runs to 240 pages.

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford in 1955. He is the author of seven novels, including The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Master went on to win the International IMPAC Dublin literary award in 2006.

The judges’ citation went as follows: “Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man who circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, who was astonishingly alive and vibrant in his art, and yet whose attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. It is a powerful account of the hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart.

“This probing portrayal of Henry James is not merely an outstanding narrative. In crisp, modulated writing, it subtly balances a range of devices that leave the reader in no doubt about the accomplishment of this work. For its deftly excavated psychology of the Jamesian childhood and youth, for its quiet revelations of the artist’s journey and the emotional and material necessities accompanying this, for the melancholic undertone which surfaces through the probing landscape of this writer’s life, The Master is, and will continue to be, a work of novelistic art: its preoccupations are truth and the elusiveness of intimacy, and from such preoccupations emerge this patient, beautiful, exposure of loss, and the price of the pursuit of perfection.”

More recently, Tóibín’s novel, Brooklyn won the Costa Novel Award and was recently released as an audio book, read by Meryl Streep. He is the author of two collections of stories, Mothers and Sons and The Empty Family.

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