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Insightful,
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4 reviews

Nora Webster: A Novel
by Colm Toibin

Published: 2014-10-07
Hardcover : 384 pages
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15 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 4 members
From one of contemporary literature’s bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, the magnificent, instant New York Times bestselling novel set in Ireland, about a fiercely compelling young widow and mother of four, navigating grief and fear, struggling for hope.

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Introduction

From one of contemporary literature’s bestselling, critically acclaimed and beloved authors, the magnificent, instant New York Times bestselling 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.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014: Atmospheric and emotional, Colm Toibinâ??s (Brooklyn, The Master) seventh novel is the story of a forty-year-old widow in 1960s/70s rural Ireland whoâ??s on the verge of slipping back into the isolated life from which her husband had rescued her. Nora Webster is, like Toibinâ??s best characters, iconoclastic, strong and deep. When she loses her beloved Maurice to a long and horrible illness, she seems beyond help: she resents the neighborsâ?? well-meaning questions and concerns and sheâ??s so grief stricken she barely notices how her children are suffering. Nora is not entirely likableâ??a self-centered person mired in depression rarely is. But Nora is also proud, fierce and angryâ??and slowly, slowly she wins you over. Even more important, she eventually finds a way to save herself. This is not a novel that makes a lot of noiseâ??and yet itâ??s musical. It has a kind of deliberate, note-by-note crescendoâ??but very few crashing cymbalsâ??as Nora rediscovers her love of singing, learns how art can help her navigate through grief, and how music can help even the most quiet among us to regain our voice. â?? Sara Nelson

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

What do you think of Nora's parenting style?
What part does music play in the story?
Politics in the novel: worker's union at Gibney's; N. Ireland conflict; Aine's involvement in protests
by nanovsky (see profile) 05/20/15

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Food served
by nanovsky (see profile) 05/20/15
We enjoyed several selections of cheese imported from Ireland along with Bailey's Irish Cream.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Nora Webser"by Carolynr (see profile) 12/28/15

found it without substance and boring

 
by pwjenks (see profile) 09/30/15

 
  "Nora Roberts"by alliecoco (see profile) 06/14/15

I thought the book was slow moving ,confusing regarding Nora Roberts character

 
  "Nora Webster"by nanovsky (see profile) 05/20/15

Our group had mixed feelings about this book. The protagonist was liked by most members, but not by others. Good discussion about her feelings and journey through grief.

 
by jilly4 (see profile) 03/17/15

 
  "Beautiful writing but boring story"by sarasikes (see profile) 02/18/15

I am a fan of Toibin's writing after reading The Master, which I enjoyed greatly. Nora Webster is also a well written and nuanced story of a woman's feelings of grief and dealing with life a... (read more)

 
  "At last, a book that is not erotic or bloodthirsty, rather it is just a well written, good story!"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 08/23/14

The book begins around the time of man’s first walk on the moon and ends in 1972, just about three years later. This is a really good story, unlike many written today which simply entice t... (read more)

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