Nora Webster A novel

Colm Tóibín, 1955-

Book - 2014

"From one of contemporary literature's bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, a magnificent new novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope. Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín's superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man... who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. 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, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven--herself. Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, "beautiful and daring" (The New York Times Book Review) and able to "sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations" (USA TODAY). In Nora Webster, Tóibín has created a character as iconic, engaging and memorable as Madame Bovary or Hedda Gabler"--

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FICTION/Toibin, Colm
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Subjects
Published
New York : Scribner 2014.
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
373 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781439138335
1439138338
Main Author
Colm Tóibín, 1955- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The Ireland of four decades ago is beautifully evoked through events in the three-year widowhood of fortysomething Nora Webster, left by the early death of her beloved Maurice with four children and scarcely enough money to cover the family expenses. A character-portrait novel in the full definition of that type—which means as meticulous in detail and as sound in psychological understanding as a biography—Irishman Tóibín's latest rich novel, following the provocative Testament of Mary (2012), is self-assured in its authenticity, daring in the male author's presumption of inhabiting a female protagonist, and all this is achieved through prose at once alive and understated. Nora, as witnessed by not only her offspring but also her sisters, her other relatives, and many neighbors both supportive and trying, must step out of the rather cocoon-like world she and her husband had created for themselves in the small city of Wexford. "The problem for her was that she was on her own now and that she had no idea how to live." Tóibín's leisurely paced but completely absorbing narrative follows Nora's rebuilding, restoration, and reaffirmation to the point where she can put the memory of Maurice to the side and create a new life. A remarkably heart-affecting story. High Demand Backstory: National advertising, a six-city author tour, an author video, and TV and print and radio publicity are all part of the publisher's campaign behind Tóibín's latest. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Nora Webster is widowed at 40, with four sons in her care and little money to support them. She's desperate to retain her independence and so grief-stricken that she barely registers how much her sons need her. But gradually she returns to singing, which she had abandoned years before, and finds herself. The multi-award-winning Tóibín has a gift for portraiture. With a six-city tour. [Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Tóibín's 10th novel offers a compelling portrait of an Irish woman for whom fate has prescribed loneliness. Widowed at 40, with four children and shaky finances, Nora rejects condolences and pity. She is so intent on making her children's lives normal that she ignores their need to mourn as well. In the wake of her husband's terminal illness, she instills fear and bewilderment in her two younger boys; they have nightmares, and one begins to stutter. The two girls, away at school, are resentful as well. Nora is sometimes obtuse about the choices she makes. She is short-tempered and sharp-tongued, and she makes significant mistakes—but her frailties make her an appealing character. Catholicism is woven into the setting of 1970s Enniscorthy. The Church is represented by a mean, small-minded teacher in the Christian Brothers monastery school and by a saintly nun who acts as guardian angel for the family. Several years pass, in which Nora gradually finds an unexpected fulfillment in a talent she had never acknowledged. Tóibín (Brooklyn) never employs dramatic fireworks to add an artificial boost to the narrative. No new suitor magically appears to fall in love with Nora. Instead, she remains a brave woman learning how to find a meaningful life as she goes on alone. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Struggling with grief and financial hardships after the death of her beloved husband, widow Nora Webster struggles to support her four children and clings to secrecy in the intrusive community of her childhood before finding her voice.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From one of contemporary literature's bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, a magnificent new novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope. Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tâoibâin's superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. 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, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven--herself. Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, "beautiful and daring" (The New York Times Book Review) and able to "sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations" (USA TODAY). In Nora Webster, Tâoibâin has created a character as iconic, engaging and memorable as Madame Bovary or Hedda Gabler"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Struggling with grief and financial hardships after the death of her beloved husband, widow Nora struggles to support her four children and clings to secrecy in the intrusive community of her childhood before finding her voice. By the award-winning author of The Master and Brooklyn. 125,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From one of contemporary literature's bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, the magnificent, instant New York Times bestselling novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope.Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín's superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. 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, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven'herself.Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, 'beautiful and daring' (The New York Times Book Review) and able to 'sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations' (USA TODAY). In Nora Webster, Tóibín has created a character as iconic, engaging and memorable as Madame Bovary or Hedda Gabler.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

From one of contemporary literature’s bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, the magnificent, instant New York Times bestselling novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope.Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín’s superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. 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, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven—herself.Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, “beautiful and daring” (The New York Times Book Review) and able to “sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations” (USA TODAY). In Nora Webster, Tóibín has created a character as iconic, engaging and memorable as Madame Bovary or Hedda Gabler.