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The Story of the Night: A Novel Paperback – May 3, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the past decade Colm Tóibín has garnered international fame for his fiction, reporting, and travel writing. Now, in his new novel, The Story of Night, he breaks new emotional ground with the story of a gay man coming of age in Argentina during the Falklands War. Tóibín weds his two themes--the ongoing Argentinean struggle toward democracy and the personal journey of a man coming out--with intellectual deftness and literary agility. Written with grace and understatement The Story of Night is Tóibín's best work yet. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Toibin (The Heather Blazing, LJ 2/1/93) lives in Ireland, but his newest novel successfully re-creates the turmoil and confusion of the postmilitary regime in Argentina in the early 1980s as if he had been witness. Richard Garay is an Argentinean, bored by his job as an English tutor and frustrated by his hidden homosexuality. His fluency with language attracts the attention of Claudio Canetto, who hires him as a liaison to foreign investors in his campaign for president of Argentina. Though the campaing is unsuccessful, it draws Garay into an uneasy alliance with a pair of powerful Americans who hope to influence the next election. Toibin flirts with the exploration of a tainted political process, but the heart of the book details the secret relationship between Garay and Canetto's son Pablo; as the country recovers from the Falklands War and the oppression of military leadership, their pairing grows from lust to love as the new threat of AIDS looms. Toibin's simple but eloquent telling of this personal story is sometimes explicit, often moving, and always vivid in its portrayal of Argentina and its people. Highly recommended.?Marc A. Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., Indiana, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743272714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743272711
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Colm Toibin is the author of four previous novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He lives in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

We have all read books that we didn't ever want to finish because they are so good.
Holly Edgell
Especially the impossibility for gays to build up their own gay lifestyle, as he knows if from his education and his North-American friends, worries him constantly.
Bert Krus
Notwithstanding that, this book is very well written and held my interest from beginning to end.
William A. Donovan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
2005 and Argentina has just revoked amnesty for those responsible for the brutality and occult treachery of the Dirty War that ended with the overthrow of the military junta with the British defeat of Argentina's forces over the Falkland Islands. And it is during this closure of a long suppressed circle that Colm Toibin's superb 1995 book THE STORY OF THE NIGHT comes back into circulation. By all means read this book now not only to celebrate Toibin's genius but also to gain valuable insight into a political intrigue that has smoldered in Argentina for the past thirty years!

Toibin conjoins the tale of a young lad Richard Garay, the son of a haughty British mother and an Argentine man whose childhood is disrupted by loss of income and instability of social presence, with the general social and political upheaval in Argentina). Richard moves from poverty and the death of his parents to teaching English in Buenos Aires and eventually comes into contact with an American couple Donald and Susan Ford who draw him into their hazy presence in the realm of political coups as an interpreter. Through them he works to gain acceptance of the powerful Canetto family: the father wants to become President of the nascent democracy after the Falklands War has rid the country of the Generals. Richard is a man in conflict: he envies the wealthy, he is gay, and he embodies the state of mind of surviving with a day persona of longing for order and rank which is antagonistic to his night persona of craving passion.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Hanssen on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
After reading & enjoying Colm Toibin's latest book, "The Blackwater Lightship", I decided I must read his other books. Again, I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed this beautifully written novel as much as "The Blackwater Lightship." Colm's sentences are very long and full of details, and once you get use to his masterful style of writing you just can't stop reading. I think that's what I like most about his writing, that everything is brought to the surface, and no details are left out.
There are actually two main themes here, and they are combined beautifully. It's the story of Argentina during the Falkland Wars and its struggle for democracy & freedom, and the story of a gay man's coming of age who is also struggling to find himself, his place in life & real love. I think Richard Garay & Pablo's love for each other is beautifully developed in a very sensitive true-to life way. Although your heart may break by the end of this story you'll remember these characters long after you finish this book.
If you like a book that can take you away, make you happy, bring tears to your eyes, and teach you a lot about other people & their cultures, this book is definitely worth a read. This book is written with intelligence and was a sheer pleasure to read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is strange for a non-Argentine to have such an understanding of some the impacts of the Malvinas War on the Argentine national image. In many ways, there was an awaking. First, an awaking that Argentina was no longer a first rate power. Secondly, that Argentina had to move on from its past to a future where it began to compete not as a nation of long gone riches, but as a modern uncorrupt legally responsible nation.
In many senses, we see this evolution with the two main figures of the novel. Just as the nation had to move out of night and the dream like qualities of its past, so to do these individuals.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bert Krus on November 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you like a classic romantic novel which is based on character development caused by repressive surroundings, then you should read this story. Richard, the protagonist with a West-European background but living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a highly skilled young gay man. Therefore he is clearly aware of the differences between what he wants in life and what is possible in his country. Especially the impossibility for gays to build up their own gay lifestyle, as he knows if from his education and his North-American friends, worries him constantly.
Richard takes care of his ageing mother just like Lark does in Andrew Holleran's 'The Beauty of Men'. It did not take me by surprise. I've seen it in real life too. What can I say about gay sons caring for their helpless mothers? Anyway, the strong tie seems to keep mother alive by isolating her son from his sexual needs. No wonder de death of Richard's mother is the beginning of his sexual exploration.
When Richard falls in love with the son of an important conservative politician he discovers the impact of leading a double life. The lovers have to spend weekends abroad to get recognition for their loveaffair. Richard's boyfriend is sure he had to spend his college years in the USA because he was caught in the act with a male classmate at home just before his graduation. His parents's unconscious decision in this matter found on the suspicion their son being gay prevented them from even thinking about homosexuality.
Besides the love element Richard also gets involved with politics. He supports the possibilities to establish a democratic government. Working life offers him the opportunity to become a grown up man. For me this aspect functioned quite well as a rolemodeling-thing.
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