• The Master

  • By: Colm Toibin
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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The Master

By: Colm Toibin
Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
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Publisher's Summary

“Colm Tóibín’s beautiful, subtle illumination of Henry James’s inner life” (The New York Times) captures the loneliness and hope of a master of psychological subtlety whose forays into intimacy inevitably fail those he tried to love.

Beautiful and profoundly moving, The Master tells the story of Henry James, a man born into one of America’s first intellectual families who leaves his country in the late 19th century to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers. With stunningly resonant prose, “The Master is unquestionably the work of a first-rate novelist: artful, moving, and very beautiful” (The New York Times Book Review). The emotional intensity of this portrait is riveting.

©2010 Colm Toibin (P)2021 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about The Master

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

What a Terrible Disappointment!

I was told that Tobin was a good writer, so as a Henry James fan I was looking forward to listening to The Master. Why did Tobin attempt this fictional biography of an author almost without peer? He only drew attention to an essential dullness to both his own imagination and descriptive skill. Not a whiff of brilliance, just a slog to the end never providing an underlying connective tissue. By the end I was bored and felt James had been gnawed by an insultingly plebeian writer.
If you revere Henry James don’t torture yourself by trying to read or listen to this book

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Master Author

There is no other way to refer to Henry James as the Master that he was in all the rich nuances his many books bring to us all. He is unsurpassed. And it all requires another Master Author to take care of that - a previous work that Toibin brought before writing The Magician which I highly recommend as well.

1 person found this helpful

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I feel like I’m missing something…

I purchased this book solely based on the reviews, and without knowing anything about Henry James. What a mistake! I feel like there is a whole lot I don’t understand about the author or the subject. It was most difficult to get into the book. While there is a definite timeline with each chapter, there are so many flashbacks that it’s difficult to determine what is current vs flashback. People who are dead and suddenly alive again and things that happen didn’t happen yet and all vice-versa. This occurs throughout the book. It was most confusing. I’m near the end and I think I’m going to have to withdraw my requirement of finishing a book no matter what.

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As if Henry James were speaking

The writing and performance blended to transport me, and often I forgot that it wasn't actually Henry James himself. Toibin writes as if he were HJ...

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Sooooo sloooow

The main character ruminates on thoughts for a whole book. The story does not go anywhere. Just couldn't wait for to be over.