Nora Webster

Nora Webster

Book - 2014
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It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them. Slowly, through the gift of music and the power of friendship, she finds a glimmer of hope and a way of starting again. As the dynamic of the family changes, she seems both fiercely self-possessed but also a figure of great moral ambiguity, making her one of the most memorable heroines in contemporary fiction. The portrait that is painted in the years that follow is harrowing, piercingly insightful, always tender and deeply true.
Publisher: London :, Viking,, 2014.
ISBN: 9781743532195
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 310 pages ;,25 cm.


From Library Staff

Colm Tóibín's stated aim with this novel was "that the reader shouldn't be aware of the style at all, let alone be dazzled by it". Well I couldn't say how he made every single word the right word or how he managed to make a complete world and transport me to it but he did.

stewaroby Nov 17, 2014

A masterpiece. Just read it.

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Chapel_Hill_KatieJ May 21, 2017

I started reading this book and couldn't get through it at first. I started reading it again after a few weeks, and I ending up liking the last half of the book a lot more than the first part. Nora is widowed in middle age, and doesn't know how to move forward. She becomes obsessed with how she is perceived in town, believing that she can't be seen as having moved on from her husband's death. She is embarrassed by her haircut, worrying people in town will judge her for having a trendier style. While the book follows Nora's day to day life as a mother and widow, there are also references to the global events happening around her, like the moon landing, Irish politics, and the changing role of women in society.

AL_SHERRI Apr 14, 2017

I loved this book because it was a refreshing change from the current trends. The author created a wonderful character sketch that I couldn't put down. I didn't care much for the way it ended only because it left some things unfinished in my opinion.

Dec 18, 2016

Slow, profound, perfect.

wendybird Oct 31, 2016

While this novel cannot be recommended to those looking for an action-packed, breathless, thrilling read, it will definitely appeal to those who relish becoming comfortable with an intelligent, compassionate, if troubled character. Nora Webster's husband's wake is just winding down as Chapter One opens, and while we see her sadness and exhaustion, we also know quickly that her journey will be more about resolve and hope than about a widow's weeds (figuratively and literally). Colm Toibin unfolds a subtle and masterful tale, one that confirms the triumph of love, community, and joy.

inthestacks Apr 30, 2016

This novel started off badly with Nora having similar traits as that of the milquetoast doormat Eilis in Toibin`s Brooklyn. However, Nora became a much more assertive character with the passing of time. Devastated by the early death of her husband, Nora is not always the most convivial person. Her husband was the centre of her life; she seemed to have sacrificed herself to keep him content. Her relationship with her extended family and her children is strained, though it appears that she has from an early age been difficult and frequently in conflict with others. She is not necessarily a likable character and what motivated her to do some of the things she did was difficult to understand. It is a novel that you keep thinking about long after you`ve read it.

Apr 25, 2016

A simple story, simply told about a woman overcoming her grief following the death of her husband and moving in new directions. It is possibly a tribute by Toibin to his mother. However, the book teeters on the brink of banality and even its evocation of a small town in 1960s Ireland is not strong. However, it is worth reading for the quality of the writing.

Feb 29, 2016

Colm Toibin is very perceptive. His people are real.I had listened to him giving a lecture and a reading from Nora Webster on YouTube. The whole book was completely absorbing and I felt I knew Nora and the community she lived in.Delightful. Never over-done. There should be a film from it the equal of Brooklyn which set me reading this Irish author in the first place.

Feb 26, 2016

I just have to say that this book was wonderful to read. I really didn't want it to end. I came away feeling like I personally knew Nora and her family.
There's not much of a plot here to speak of, but there is some realism. The characters are well drawn and fleshed out.
Now, I am ready for another story by this author.

Nov 22, 2015

Anotner delightful book from the master of female character description. Colm Toibin excels in describing the everyday life of people and makes it interesting.

Nov 10, 2015

I honestly can’t recommend this book. Nothing happens! Well, that’s not quite true. The heroine, Nora Webster, takes small and tentative steps towards forging a new identity for herself following the death of her husband. And, yes, I know that in a small, claustrophobic Irish community in the 1960s changing your hair colour and style, buying a record player, taking singing lessons, defying a priest, repainting two rooms and buying new curtains are probably momentous events but they definitely don’t make for a riveting read. Unless you like watching paint dry, my advice is, don’t bother.

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