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The Master: A Novel Paperback – May 3, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
James through Toibin has poignant observations about life and death.Read more ›
I love books where "nothing really happens", but in this case, it really felt like nothing was happening, in the book or in the reader's mind. I could appreciate the book on all sorts of intellectual levels: it is beautifully written in many places, the structure (an episodic tour of James' relationships that never became relationships) is well-paced and well-balanced, Toibin himself is a "master" at the small, quiet scenes of character and poignant action (or inaction). And I like the whole setup of revealing a man's character through a web of interactions with others, especially one whose interactions are so passive. But emotionally the book never had an impact. And the story never grabbed me, or even tugged at the sleeve. It was, admittedly, a struggle to finish it and I read several other books while doing so.
One needn't have read James' to follow the book, though certainly it adds a richness to the text if one has some familiarity. For those who do not, Toibin does a decent job of giving thumbnail sketches of stories and novels, though sometimes it feels a bit clumsy, especially in the repetitive pattern of James seeing something, than telling himself, "I will write a story about . . . " and the reader plays "I can guess that story in X words." There is also something a bit too mechanical and clinical in how James' creative process is presented.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not a light read, but that only makes it all the more delightful. It builds a world in which the protagonist moves slowly, quiet and sharp, and where regular conversations... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gabriela
Absolutely wonderful. Better than regular biographies of Henry James. A favorite.Published 2 months ago by Margaret Olson
This was a very interesting synthesis of historical material presented in a novelistic form. In either grnre, it was most involving.Published 4 months ago by Pernel Berkeley
Historical fiction as if written by James himself. The episodes justly reveal character and place, especially James who prefers to keep to himself. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A lot of good insights to Henry James' life on both sides of the Atlantic. A bit of pruning would have helped, but that's what we often hear about Mr James, isn't it? Read morePublished 5 months ago by W. Robinson
Wonderful telling of the imagined story of Henry James, his life abroad, and his subtle and universal relationships.Published 6 months ago by Barry miller