The Story of the Night
Split into three parts, we follow Richard's journey from Argentina during the Falklands War, through the entire decade, up to the AIDS crisis of New York in the late 80s. It goes from Giovanni's Room to Angels in ...more
1) Richard Garay lives with and cares for his domineering mother until her death, and then attempts to make his own way as a gay man in macho, politically volatile Argentina in the mid-80s.
2) Richard gets involved with a family, the patriarch of which seeks to become President of Argentina, and takes a job as a translator thanks largely to the influence of two American CIA agents who are working behind the scenes to "democratize" Argentina in the post-Falklands ...more
Engrossing, compelling story (with some interesting set-pieces) that, more than once, seems to be going one way and then takes you another. I don't think, as a whole, it's as good as Toibin's later works; but it's just as readable.
I enjoy reading all the works of favorite writers and seeing their development. I found this one better than his earlier The South, and it's also interesting to see how this one probably led to his next one, The Blackwater Lightship, which I loved.
Set in Buenos Aires during the Falklands war and its aftermath, the novel tracks the development of Richard Garay, a gay schoolteacher, the son of an Argentine father and English mother. At the novel's opening, the generals a ...more
My initial reaction: "Brilliant, emotional, and will leave you, well, utterly speechless. Just... WOW!"
As Argentina is going through political upheaval, so is Richard. Strangled by his job and lack of love life, he takes risks and grows just like this new Argentina does. He finds himself in a new career and in a new love.
The melancholy, trance-like prose beautifully illustrates how Richard drifts through life being a part of it yet apart at the same time. He is lonely and detached ...more
2005 and Argentina has just revoked amnesty for those responsible for the brutality and occult treachery of the Dirty War that ended with the overthrow of the military junta with the British defeat of Argentina's forces over the Falkland Islands. And it is during this closure of a long suppressed circle that Colm Toibin's superb 1995 book THE STORY OF THE NIGHT comes back into circulation. By all means read this book now not only to celebrate Toibin' ...more
The novel blends confession, love story and the sort of ambassadorial intrigue that Graham Greene went in for. In fact, I ...more
- Bland writing style - too plain and just uninteresting.
- Too many plot lines that try to interconnect but don't: politics in Argentina, gay relationships, family stuff. Characters travel from Buenos Aires to the US (including NYC) as if those places were next to each other.
- Main character develops unnaturally, starting out as a really shy, highly reserved boy to end up becoming a ...more
“[O]ne side of me, the English side maybe, was a way of hiding from the other side, which was Argentinian, so that I never had to be a single fully formed person, I could always switch and improvise.”  The narrator, Richard Garay, puts his finger on his problem and the problem with this novel: neither can quite assemble into being fully formed and coherent.
The nar ...more
The Story of the Night struck me immediately as a difficult book—not because it is difficult to grasp but because it's tedious to go through. It is not the tedium of self-conscious style. It is the tedium of the self-conscious lack of s...more
The character isn't the memorable figure promised by the Times review on the back cover blurb. In fact I found him as dull as he found his teaching job. He did nothing particularly unpleasant to offend, inspired no feeling except impatience, really. I felt him stagnant, even after the changes to his job and his love life. Those two things? They're about the most momentous things that happen to him in the entire book save for a big spoiler I won't mention at the en ...more
Toibin's novel was both painful and wonderful to read. The style is stark and spare, and speaks to the directness and honesty of the main character, Richard, whose voice narrates the story. Coming out part isn't such a big deal for Richard. The first people he tells are his mother, and the young friend he's attracted to; they both shrug it off . A ...more
That being said, if I consider this novel as a "slice of life" narrative without any goal but to ...more