The Master

Colm Toibin

2004 Nominee

Man Booker Prize

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07 March 2019
368 pages

With an introduction by award-winning novelist Tessa Hadley

In January 1895 Henry James anticipates the opening of his first play, Guy Domville, in London. The production fails, and he returns, chastened and humiliated, to his writing desk. The result is a string of masterpieces, but they are produced at a high personal cost.

In The Master Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man who circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, who was astonishingly vibrant and alive 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.

An audacious, profound, and wonderfully intelligent book.

Hermione Lee, Guardian

A marvel of lightly worn research and modulated tone.

John Updike, New Yorker

A must read. Colm Tóibín has not only written a spectacular novel he has found a way to pay tribute to Henry James. We should all be so gifted and so lucky.

Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky