Catherine's Reviews > The Master

The Master by Colm Tóibín
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's review
Jan 08, 12

bookshelves: bookcrossing
Read in July, 2008

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 bookcrossing JEs.

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