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Introduction by Colm TóibínOne of the final masterpieces from one of the world's greatest authors, Henry James's The Ambassadors is now available for the first time in a Modern Library edition, with a new Introduction by acclaimed novelist Colm Tóibín. A keenly observed tale of a man's awakening to life, this dark comic novel follows Lewis Lambert Strether, a middle-aged widower, on a mission to Europe to convince his fiancée's wayward son to forsake the pleasures of Paris and return to America. Rich with fin de siècle detail, The Ambassadors brims with finely drawn character portraits, including one of the Master's most unforgettable heroines--the beguiling Madame de Vionnet. This was the novel that Henry James himself considered his finest, and no one is better equipped to put it into literary and historical context than Colm Tóibín, whose award-winning novel The Master depicted the inner life of James in the final years of the nineteenth century.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the internationally celebrated author of Brooklyn and The Master, and winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, comes a stunning new book of fiction.In the captivating stories that make up The Empty Family, Colm Tóibín delineates with a tender and unique sensibility, lives of unspoken or unconscious longing, of individuals often willingly cast adrift from their history. From the young Pakistani immigrant who seeks some kind of permanence in a strange town, to the Irish woman reluctantly returning to Dublin and discovering a city that refuses to acknowledge her long absence, each of Tóibín's stories manage to contain whole worlds: stories of fleeing the past and returning home, of family threads lost and ultimately regained.Like Tóibín's celebrated novels, and his previous short story collection, Mothers and Sons, reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review, The Empty Family will further confirm Tóibín's status as "his generation's most gifted writer of love's complicated, contradictory power." (Los Angeles Times)From the Hardcover edition.
From the internationally celebrated author of The Master, winner of the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.Mothers and Sons is a deeply penetrating and beautifully written meditation on the dramas surrounding this most elemental of relationships. Each of the nine stories focuses on a moment in which an unspoken balance shifts; in which a mother or son do battle, or experience a sudden crisis, thus leaving their conception of who they are subtly or seriously altered. A son buries his mother and goes out to a drug-fuelled rave on a remote beach near Dublin. A mother sings about treacherous love to a rapt crowd of musicians in a local pub. And in "A Long Winter," Colm Tóibín's finest piece of fiction to date, a man goes searching for his mother in the snow-covered Pyrenees.Psychologically intricate and emotionally incisive, each finely wrought story teases out the delicate and difficult strands woven between mothers and sons. This is an acute, masterful, and moving collection that confirms Tóibín as a great prose stylist of our time.From the Hardcover edition.
In a brilliant, nuanced and wholly original collection of essays, the novelist and critic Colm Tóibín explores the relationships of writers to their families and their work. From Jane Austen's aunts to Tennessee Williams's mentally ill sister, the impact of intimate family dynamics can be seen in many of literature's greatest works. Tóibín, celebrated both for his award-winning fiction and his provocative book reviews and essays, and currently the Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia, traces and interprets those intriguing, eccentric, often twisted family ties in New Ways to Kill Your Mother. Through the relationship between W. B. Yeats and his father, Thomas Mann and his children, and J. M. Synge and his mother, Tóibín examines a world of relations, richly comic or savage in its implications. In Roddy Doyle's writing on his parents, Tóibín perceives an Ireland reinvented. From the dreams and nightmares of John Cheever's journals, Tóibín illuminates this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. "Educating an intellectual woman," Cheever remarked, "is like letting a rattlesnake into the house." Acutely perceptive and imbued with rare tenderness and wit, New Ways to Kill Your Mother is a fascinating look at writers' most influential bonds and a secret key to understanding and enjoying their work.
In 1950, Katherine Proctor leaves Ireland for Barcelona, determined to escape her family and become a painter. There she meets Miguel, an anarchist veteran of the Spanish Civil War, and begins to build a life with him. But Katherine cannot escape her past, as Michael Graves, a fellow Irish émigré in Spain, forces her to reexamine all her relationships: to her lover, her art, and the homeland she only thought she knew. The South is a novel of classic themes--of art and exile, and of the seemingly irreconcilable yearnings for love and freedom--to which Colm Tóibín brings a new, passionate sensitivity.
In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel -- her keepers, who provide her with food and shelter and visit her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it;" nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the Cross until her son died -- she fled, to save herself), and is equally harsh on her judgement of others. This woman who 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 our image of Mary will be forever transformed.
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