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I have never read anything written by Colm Toibin but after listening to him talk about this book on a podcast I really must. He read from the book - the scene about the hair dye - and I was laughing out loud! Colm sounds like one of those people you would have at your fantasy dinner party. Glad to read your thoughts on this one, Danielle!


He's a wonderful writer--I've read two of his novels now and several short stories and I've liked everything I've read by him! I would love to hear him speak--that must have been a great podcast and I recall that scene quite distinctly, too! Give him a try--I think you would like him, too!


It sounds like perhaps she was prickly in self-defense, perhaps. I do love a story of a woman reinventing herself, and as I get older, I'm also drawn to stories with older heroines. I think I would like this, and will add it to my list.


I believe the author was inspired by the experience of losing his father at a young age, watching his mother deal with being a widow. Some of what he writes about the older son was from his own personal history.

He has written quite often about mothers. He has a short story collection called Mothers and Sons. Pico Iyer's NYTimes review of that book is quite illuminating (and available online).

As I read Nora Webster, I thought often of another recent work of Toibin, The Testament of Mary.


Wonderful review, Danielle! I have not ready any of his books but I really would love to read this one.


This sounds wonderful. I read his book The Master several years ago and loved it and am currently reading a new book of nonfiction of his called On Elizabeth Bishop. He's so good!


I think you are right on that count. When so many people are critical of the choices you make and the lifestyle you lead, and the fact that she is independent (or trying to be anyway), it is no wonder she is prickly. I like her quite a lot actually and can see aspects of her personality in myself. There was a time when I was younger that the idea of reading a book about someone older than say 30 didn't appeal in the least and now it seems to be the reverse--I look for books with older women characters. This is definitely one to look for.


How interesting. I don't really know anything about Colm Toibin, though now that you say it, you're right he does often write about women and older women at that. I have one of his story collections, but I don't think it is that one--will look for the Iyer review, thanks. I will have to look at The Testament of Mary--I remember when my library got a copy of it. I like that there are more books by him for me to read!


I think you would like him--both Brooklyn and this one are really excellent. Brooklyn has been made into a movie which is out later this fall and I look forward to seeing!


It is! I remember when you read The Master--I should pick it up when I finish reading Henry James--that might be quite illuminating! I didn't realize that he had a new book out--and a biography at that. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think--is it a review book?


Nope, not a review book and not really a biography either. It's a slim little book you might call a "study." It's very good, but that almost goes without saying :)


It sounds interesting! There is a poem by Elizabeth Bishop "There Will Come Soft Rains" which is really amazing.

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