Nora Webster

Nora Webster

A Novel

Book - 2014
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Struggling with grief and financial hardships after the death of her beloved husband, widow Nora struggles to support her four children and clings to secrecy in the intrusive community of her childhood before finding her voice. By the award-winning author of The Master and Brooklyn.
"From one of contemporary literature's bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, a magnificent new novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope. Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín's superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty, with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven--herself. Nora Webster is a masterpiece in character study by a writer at the zenith of his career, "beautiful and daring" (The New York Times Book Review) and able to "sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations" (USA TODAY). In Nora Webster, Tóibín has created a character as iconic, engaging and memorable as Madame Bovary or Hedda Gabler"--
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2014.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781439138335
Branch Call Number: FICTION Toibin Colm 09/2014
Characteristics: 373 pages ;,25 cm


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List - 2016 De Soto Book Club
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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.

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.

Sep 21, 2015

wonderful unfolding of the awakening of a woman to widowhood, opening to self awareness. very interesting contrast between Norah and her mother and sisters with interacting with their children. lots of reading between the lines.

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