Claudia Putnam's Reviews > Nora Webster

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín
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it was amazing
bookshelves: literary-fiction

A masterpiece. A restrained author writing about a restrained person in a restrained culture. If you can't handle subtext and are not a practiced reader, move along. This book will be over your head, or slide away beneath your awareness. The more your loss. But for those of us who love to explore culture and character and language, what a feast. And what illumination.

I am interested in the way small communities police themselves and don't like their members to break away or get ahead or violate any norms. In Ireland conservative behavior was celebrated until very recently, and frugality in particular was heavily valued. Dyeing your hair, buying a stereo (even to listen to classical music), driving a car, having too many dresses were all behaviors that could be judged harshly by your neighbors. This is a Catholic country, but really these, along with the dour emotional restraint, are Protestant values. So did British rule corrupt Ireland that deeply, or is this survivor guilt from the Famine that still persists over a century later?

It's funny, because I think of Irish Catholics, at least those who emigrated, as being fiery and spendthrift. :D My relatives anyhow.

The ending was perhaps a bit soft for my taste and maybe too resolution-y, but perhaps I was relieved for all that.

Listening to this book was a soul-opening experience for me.

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Reading Progress

December 14, 2014 – Shelved
December 14, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 26, 2015 – Started Reading
May 26, 2015 – 0.0% "If you are ever in doubt about the difference between literary and mainstream fiction, try reading this back-to-back with The Girl on the Train."
June 7, 2015 – 0.0% "Listening to this while doing yoga; will be way sorry when it ends."
June 11, 2015 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
June 11, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Rahul (new)

Rahul  Adusumilli Is this similar to any book I may have read? :P

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