Amazon Editorial Review: Like Michael Cunningham in The Hours, Colm Tóibín captures the extraordinary mind and heart of a great writer. Beautiful and profoundly moving, The Master tells the story of a man born into one of America's first intellectual families who leaves his country in the late nineteenth century to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers.
In stunningly resonant prose, Tóibín captures the loneliness and the hope of a master of psychological subtlety whose forays into intimacy inevitably failed those he tried to love. The emotional intensity of this portrait is riveting.
Recieved today by mail. Looking forward to it - definitely next on my reading list! Thanks Perryfran for letting me join the bookring. 14/06 - just finished it. The book had quite a lot of potential and concentrated on the psychology of the main character at the expense of the plot. Otherwise it eas ok but not one of the better of the 1001 books I have read. Posting to the next participant on monday.
Journal Entry 5 by davemurray101 at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, June 16, 2008
Released 12 yrs ago (6/16/2008 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
sent to kizmiaz in Portugal by airmail this morning
Ok, this might rub some people the wrong way but I didn’t really felt like this was an exceptionally good book, and certainly not one of the 1001 books you should read before you croak (who makes these lists anyway? And why?). The writing is enticing and the author masters the words and the careful phrasing, and that is the only reason I kept reading this book. I enjoyed the innuendo about Henry James sexual inclinations and the alluring way in which the author pulls the readers into this literary icons’ world, but felt that once I was in it there wasn’t much but cobwebs and dust. No plot that I could see and the storyline was but a sketch. This is how I feel about this book, loved the writing and hated that there was no real story, except the haunting of ghosts of the past, not enough for me, not by a long shot. I'll be mailing it on when I get an address.
An interesting contrast to David Lodge's Author, Author which places the opening of James' play in the middle and ends with his death. Far more internal, and giving a different and darker portrait of the writer, this left one at the end feeling that James' reclusivity was more complex and less bitter than Lodge would have it. Toibin paints a picture of a man constantly holding back, keeping himself distant from relationships lest he should get hurt and suffering for this in the end, although not with an unbreakable heart, as promised by Lewis, but with one broken and incapable of healing. There is a wonderful description of lying in bed with someone, wondering what they will do, and submitting to what they do while while feigning the innocence of sleep the while.
The plot that there is is psychological rather than eventful, so yes, it does move slowly and by rights I should therefore have hated it. However I found it powerful and moving and better than I had anticipated from the previous JEs.
Thank you for sharing perryfran, and getting the book this far. I have KT-J's address and will get it parcelled up very soon.
Journal Entry 10 by Caterinaanna at Bury, Greater Manchester United Kingdom on Thursday, August 07, 2008
Released 12 yrs ago (8/7/2008 UTC) at Bury, Greater Manchester United Kingdom
Received safely, thanks CaterinaAnna for sending this on. Thanks also to perryfran for another 1001 bookring. This is the fourth bookring I've received in the last week (unlucky timing!) but Stubee and I will get onto this shortly so it shouldn't be held up!
I finished this book last Friday but haven't had a chance to write a JE until now. I haven’t read any of Colm Tóibín’s other material before this so once again thanks to the 1001 list I've been introduced to yet another author.
I also haven’t read any of Henry James’s novels (or known much about him either for that matter) and that maybe put me at a disadvantage, I wonder if I’d have read “The Portrait of a Lady” before reading this I’d have a clearer vision of the characters involved or if having read this my views on “The Portrait of a Lady” will be more involved than if I hadn’t, who knows it’s all speculation now I guess.
This is a fictional work not biographical and therefore I must imagine that even though some of the dates and facts involved are true the feelings, thoughts and some events are a creation of Tóibín’s imagination and I must say I agree with John Updike who described the book by saying: “Tóibín's subject is the inward James, the master of literary creation and a vast hushed arena of dreams and memories and hoarded observations”.
The Master is a novel that I enjoyed and would recommend to others.
This has now been passed the KT-J who will most probably read this once she’s finished, another Perryfran bookring, Emile Zola’s Nana!
I'm not sure what it is but I've not really got into any of the 1001 books I've read lately. I found this book an interesting insight into society, not just in England but also the English in Ireland and the Americans in Europe during this period. It was also interesting to look at the life of Henry James and the events and people that inspired his books but having not read any of his works I probably didn't get as much as others may from this book!
Thanks perryfran for another 1001 book though. We have wanderingstar8's address so this will be posted on this week.
This is a beautifully written book - the sentences roll over you as you are reading them. And it's a sensitive examination of the way that James' life was echoed in his work, and the way his desire to observe, and write, led to a certain disengagement from the world - and made him let down the people who loved him.
However, it seemed a little repetitive - the same events recur, with different protagonists. Perhaps this is meant to be cyclical - but James' approach doesn't really change, despite his guilt or shame about the events that have gone before. And that made me feel as if real emotion was missing from the core of the book - despite the fact that we suffer all the slights along with James.
22.11.2008 The book arrived by mail yesterday. Thank you wanderingstar8 and perryfran for organizing the bookray!
1.4.2009 I finally finished the book last week. The story seemed to drag and I didn't seem to get into it. It might be because of the language (I'm not a native English speaker) or just that how the book was written - there was no real story in it. In a way I liked the writing style though.
A very good book with an appropriate style for writing about James. I've read several of his books but never knew much about his life. Now I'd like to go back and reread some of the books, since I've learned a bit about the people and places he used. Thanks for sharing, perryfran! I've PMed liz-z for an address and hopefully will have the book moving again soon.
Journal Entry 21 by ealasaidmae at St. Albans, West Virginia USA on Saturday, April 25, 2009
Released 11 yrs ago (4/24/2009 UTC) at St. Albans, West Virginia USA
I just finished this book and must say that I enjoyed it. This book was beautifully written and although definitely not a suspense novel made me want to keep reading it. I have read one other book by Toibin, The Heather Blazing, and it was written just as beautifully. I have not read any of James work that I can remember but because of this book I have downloaded Portrait of a Lady and a couple others for my Kindle.
Thank you perryfran for sharing another great 1001 book! I will be sending this off to the next person as soon as I get an address.
Journal Entry 24 by liz-z at Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, June 22, 2009
Released 11 yrs ago (6/19/2009 UTC) at Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Oops I forgot to mark this sent. After the next person on the list asked to be skipped I got the next person after that's address and have sent this off last week to California. Thanks again for sharing!
Book arrived back home today. Thanks everyone for participating in this bookring!
Journal Entry 33 by perryfran at USPS By Media Mail in -- Paperbackswap.com, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Released 9 yrs ago (2/22/2011 UTC) at USPS By Media Mail in -- Paperbackswap.com, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sending to a PaperbackSwap.com member in NY.
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