Skip to main content

Colm Tóibín

Biography

Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín is the author of 10 novels, including THE MAGICIAN, his most recent novel; THE MASTER, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; BROOKLYN, winner of the Costa Book Award; THE TESTAMENT OF MARY; and NORA WEBSTER, as well as two story collections and several books of criticism. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

Colm Tóibín

Books by Colm Tóibín

by Colm Tóibín - Fiction, Historical Fiction

THE MAGICIAN opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the 20th century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story DEATH IN VENICE. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.

by Colm Tóibín - Biography, History, Nonfiction

Colm Tóibín begins MAD, BAD, DANGEROUS TO KNOW with a walk through the Dublin streets where he went to university and where three Irish literary giants also came of age. Oscar Wilde, writing about his relationship with his father, William Wilde, stated: “Whenever there is hatred between two people there is bond or brotherhood of some kind…you loathed each other not because you were so different but because you were so alike.” W.B. Yeats wrote of his father, painter John Butler Yeats: “It is this infirmity of will which has prevented him from finishing his pictures. The qualities I think necessary to success in art or life seemed to him egotism.” John Stanislaus Joyce, James’ father, was widely loved, garrulous, a singer and drinker with a volatile temper, who drove his son from Ireland.

by Colm Tóibín - Fiction, Historical Fiction

“I have been acquainted with the smell of death.” So begins Clytemnestra’s tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband King Agamemnon left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war. Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, Clytemnestra reveals the tragic saga that led to these bloody actions.

by Colm Tóibín - Fiction

Widowed at 40, with four children and not enough money, Nora Webster has lost the love of her life, Maurice. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, she finds solace, engagement, a haven --- herself.

by Colm Tóibín - Fiction, Historical Fiction

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son’s crucifixion. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God nor that his death was “worth it.” She judges herself ruthlessly, and her judgment of others is equally harsh. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine.

by Colm Tóibín - Fiction, Short Stories

Shedding light on the lives of individuals often willingly cast adrift from their histories, Colm Tóibín's stories tell of fleeing the past and returning home, of family threads lost and ultimately regained.