Colm Toibin is one of my favorite Irish authors writing today. Among his books that I've read to date ("The South", "The Heather Blazing", "The Blackwater Lightship", "Mothers and Sons" and this one - I haven't read "The Master" yet), "The Story of the Night" is my favorite.
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 are still in power, and Garay is closeted and emotionally stunted. Toibin, who covered the trial of General Gualtieri as a reporter, is extraordinarily effective in conveying the sense of menace that prevails, and the way people are forced to hold their emotions in check in order to survive.
The Falklands are lost, the generals lose their hold on power, and the story traces Richard’s gradual emotional development in parallel with the opening of Argentine society. The aspect of Toibin’s writing that I like best is his extraordinary emotional intelligence, which he deploys here to full effect, in a sensitive and moving account of Richard’s story. Richard is a complex, and not entirely sympathetic, character, but Toibin draws us in to his story, and makes us care deeply about his fate.
An evocative and moving story, which I highly recommend.