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The Master cover art

The Master

By: Colm Tóibín
Narrated by: William Hope
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Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Master by Colm Toibin, read by Geoffrey Howard.

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.

©2014 Penguin Audio (P)2014 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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Inside the Mind of the Master

Henry James has always been a tricky writer to get to know, since there is such material about him but so little of him is actually known. His repressive sexuality, his stunning works of literary genius, the ghosts that inhabited his mind and life in general. Colm Tóibín has written a wonderful piece of literature, and it has penetrated into the mind of a great writer. It makes James seem human, with secrets and desires, but repressions and attitudes he can’t seem to get away from nor does he feel any inclination to.

William Hope narrates this books masterfully, and it takes you on a real journey. Excellent read, and highly recommended to any fans of Tóibín and Henry James.

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Dull beyond words

A simplistic attempt to emulate Henry James' prose style over an imagined story trajectory.
It doesn't work.
It's instead a total dull cringe-fest.
Pedestrian and dull dull dull. Like James at his worst.
I'd rather watch paint dry. Twice. Happily.
Life is too short.
Just my humble opinion, obviously.

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Intense and well researched

This semi-fictional bio of Henry James holds one’s attention and is augmented by having read at least some of his novels for reference . It’s intense, subtle, well researched, and feels complete for the period of HJ’s life which is covered. Did HJ engage sufficiently emotionally w his friends… ? ..there is a sense in this portrayal he never risked this, was contained and controlled though Toibin nuances an unrealised sexuality.

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An intriguing portrait of a complicated man

It took me a little longer to get into this than some of Toibin's earlier novels. My first thoughts were that it was lacking in intimacy, but I soon realised that this tone was perfect for portraying the character of Henry James who, according to this portrayal, held even his own friends and family at a defensive distance. As a reader, this puts you in special place with direct access to the thoughts of a man that is closed off to others and this is a sometimes energising and sometimes tragic place to be. The audiobook is narrated very well. You don't need to know anything about Henry James to enjoy this book, but by the end you'll feel like you know him better than anyone.

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I loved this audiobook!

This started as an obligatory school reading, but it grew into one of my favourite books. I learned so many new words, the author's style of writing is quite the exquisite experience, and the narrator's voice made for an amazing two weeks! Thank you so much!

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Five years of failure - a glimpse a glance a gaze

Colm Tóibín himself sets out very demanding ambition for this novel - to develop a picture of Henry James not through his voice but through his consciousness, to collate for our own glimpse every single thing that is seen noticed or felt, to work on the basis that the page is blank and not a mirror so giving no glance at the author - and, wonderfully, delivers on all.
Presence is given to Henry James by means that Tóibín has described as transferring sensibility to the imagination. The mix is stirred by adding density and texture to life, pouring on ample amounts of ambiguity to the central personality and brought to the boil on the basis of neurosis which via an implied fear of exposure is afraid to name the thing it is trying to describe.
While it sounds impenetrable, this novel is anything but. In the April lockdown sunshine ’The Master’ flowed easily between wonderful locations (Rye and the Protestant Cemetery in Rome now added to the list). Having fully inhabited and enjoyed the domestic, professional and travelling worlds of Henry James, I didn’t want it to end.

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Very interesting, historic novel, of

Had a lovely time reading this novel, great performance and well written, so I shall leave it at that

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Masterly

Very cleverly written exactly in the style of Henry James.
Would be v interested to know how much of it really happened.

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