Joy H.'s Reviews > The Master

The Master by Colm Tóibín
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's review
Mar 20, 09

bookshelves: biography-fictionalized, fictionalized-biography, historical-fiction
Read in March, 2009

If you'd like to get a feel for the personality and life of Henry James without struggling (g), try this book.

Colm Toibin, author of _The Master_, imitates Henry James' style as he tells this fictionalized biography of part of Henry James' life.

I found it thrilling to feel so close to Henry James who has always seemed so distant as a writer. It was interesting to learn, as I read Henry's inner thoughts, that he suffered from self-doubt . He was human after all.

It was also interesting to read how James created his stories by taking ideas from the lives of real people in his own life.

The book relates Henry James' thoughts about his brother, the psychologist William James, as well as Henry's interaction with other relatives and close friends.

At times Henry seems rather wistful and even sentimental as he thinks about the "unrecoverable past". Author Toibin talks of how Henry goes through the rooms of his house observing them carefully "so that they could be remembered and captured and held". The book says: "He moved around it relishing the silence and the emptiness". I got the impression that Henry James enjoyed his solitude.

In the acknowledgments, Toibin says: "I wish to acknowledge that I have peppered the text with phrases and sentences from the writings of Henry James and his family."
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Reading Progress

12/17/2008 page 17
3.27% "Our town library group is reading this book for December."
03/20/2009 page 559
100% "I have finally finished this book. It was very goodd."
03/20/2009 page 559
100% "I have finally finished this book. It was very good."
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