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New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families Hardcover – June 12, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Toibin possesses a] vast understanding of fiction and its uses, and a mind that processes novels and ideas like a rumbling supercomputer...Mr. Toibin is such an adept and morally serious close reader that his criticism becomes nearly as galvanizing as his fiction. There really aren’t, it turns out, any new ways to kill your mother, at least not artistically. But all the old ways, in Mr. Toibin’s telling, still work rather beautifully.”—Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Tóibín is an excellent guide through the dark terrain of unconscious desires.”—The Evening Standard

“A consistently revealing look at how writers’ relationships with their families have influenced their work…Delicacy is one of Tóibín’s great strengths as a novelist, and it’s here in abundance, too. Parallels are adroitly, teasingly drawn out, then knotted together with the lightest of touches. The result is a book that illuminates, startles and delights.”—The Telegraph

“Like all fine critics, Tóibín inspires readers to go back to the work, and he brings a human aspect to the works of seemingly deracinated authors like Beckett and Jorge Luis Borges…It’s a pleasure to watch Tóibín rove through 19th and 20th-century literary history.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Tóibín excels when discussing craft…[New Ways to Kill Your Mother is] chock-full of biographic detail that will interest ardent readers.”—Publishers Weekly

Unfailingly warm and compassionate.”—The Irish Times

“[A] lively exploration of writers and their families…Fascinating.”—Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels including The Blackwater Lightship, The Master, winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Brooklyn, winner of a Costa Book Award. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451668554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451668551
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By John Williamson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First things first: author Colm Tóibín's New Ways to Kill Your Mother is no lightweight, frothy summer beach read, so be prepared for that. He's an Irish novelist, essayist, journalist, critic, short story writer, playwright, journalist, critic, and, more recently, a poet. Described recently as an "old-fashioned literary man o' war," he is generally regarded by those familiar with his works as having outclassed many at the various literary forms in which he has delved.

Though the title might suggest a manual about matricide, Tóibín's new work is not about the act of murdering one's own mother. The author skillfully delves into the association between the portrayal of family relations in literature and the actual home lives of writers, and it can be as complex as it is absorbing. The title is metaphorical.

The relationship between writers, their chosen occupation and the part that it plays with their families is often like combat. It is to this absorbing topic that author Tóibín turns in his interesting collection of essays on writers and their mothers, fathers and other family members. Early into the book we see these words:

"The novel in English over the nineteenth century is filled with parents whose influence must be evaded or erased to be replaced by figures who operate either literally or figuratively as aunts, both kind and mean, both well-intentioned and duplicitous, both rescuing and destroying. The novel is a form ripe for orphans, or for those whose orphanhood will be all the more powerful for being figurative, or open to the suggestion, both sweet and sour, of surrogate parents.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an informed and unique view of a variety of writers--- an Idiosyncratic but interesting choice of subjects. Colm Toibin knows what he's talking about; he's done the research and thought long and well about what he's discovered. Not only can he write fiction but also he's a master of intelligent criticism.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This collection of essays, by one of today's leading fiction writers, is deightful and insightful in exploring the relationship between writers and their families. If you are interested in the lives of writers, you will surely enjoy this book.
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This was a fabulous insight into the family and other relationships that shaped the famous writers discussed. Colm Toibin has a knack of uncovering details that allow the reader to view the writers in a new light. I have visited Drumcliffe Church yard many times to pay homage to W.B.Yeats. After this book I won't be going again!!!
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