New Ways to Kill Your Mother

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Pan Macmillan Australia, Mar 15, 2012 - Literary Collections - 352 pages
2 Reviews

In his essay on the "Notebooks" of Tennessee Williams, Colm Toibin reveals an artist "alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish" and one profoundly tormented by his sister's mental illness.

Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father or Thomas Mann and his children or J.M. Synge and his mother, Toibin examines a world of family relations, richly comic or savage in its implications. In Roddy Doyle's writing on his parents we see an Ireland reinvented. From the dreams and nightmares of John Cheever's journals Toibin makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children.

"Educating an intellectual woman," Cheever remarked, "is like letting a rattlesnake into the house."

In pieces that range from the importance of aunts (and the death of parents) in the English nineteenth-century novel to the relationship between fathers and sons in the writing of James Baldwin and Barack Obama, Colm Toibin illuminates not only the intimate connections between writers and their families but also articulates, with a rare tenderness and wit, the great joy of reading their work.

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User Review  - Cariola - LibraryThing

Toibin's collection of biographical literary essays focuses on the relationships between writers and their parents and the effects these relationships had upon their work. There's something here for ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - santom01 - LibraryThing

Boring. Too literary. I was expecting something a bit more biographical about all the great writers' poor, neglected family members who pined for their fathers and husbands while said men toiled away in their lonely garret. Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six previous novels, collections of short stories (Mothers and Sons, and The Empty Family) and many works of non-fiction. He has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004), and longlisted for Brooklyn. The Master won The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (2006), and Brooklyn won the Costa Novel Award. He currently lives in Dublin.

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