The Master, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


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 Toibin 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.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Enjoyed reading this, although as a newcomer to Henry James and his life, I had to approach this as a work concerning a fictional character to avoid feeling left behind. The tone and style of Toibin's writing is impressive and understated.

Review by

Deliciously detailed and slow this is almost more biography than novel. As baroque and subtle as James but perhaps more honest.

Review by

As a fan of Colm Toibin but not of Henry James, I found this quite hard work. The novel imagines Henry James as the central character in one of his own novels. Neither a biography nor fiction, I found his mostly-repressed yearning for intimacy and love the strongest part of the novel.

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