Synopses & Reviews
Like Michael Cunningham in "The Hours," Colm Tiibin captures the extraordinary mind and heart of a great writer. Brilliant and profoundly moving, "The Master" tells the story of Henry James, a man born into one of America's first intellectual families two decades before the Civil War. James left his country to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers.
In stunningly resonant prose, Tiibin captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married, never resolved his sexual identity, and whose forays into intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. The emotional intensity of Tiibin's portrait of James is riveting. Time and again, James, a master of psychological subtlety in his fiction, proves blind to his own heart and incapable of reconciling his dreams of passion with his own fragility.
Tiibin is "a great and humanizing writer" who describes complex relationships in "supple, beautifully modulated prose" ("The Washington Post Book World"). In "The Master," he has written his most ambitious and heartbreaking novel, an extraordinarily inventive encounter with a character at the cusp of the modern age, elusive to his own friends and even family, yet astonishingly vivid in these pages.
In 1895 Henry James's play "Guy Domville" failed on the London stage. The hapless James had hoped to make a fortune but instead moved to Rye in Sussex. There he was watchful and witty, relishing England whilst simultaneously regretting the New England he had left far behind.