The Heather Blazing

The Heather Blazing

Paperback

By (author) Colm Toibin

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 18mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330321250
  • ISBN 13: 9780330321259
  • Sales rank: 22,174

Product description

Eamon Redmond is a judge in Ireland's high court, a man remote from his wife, his son and daughter and, at least outwardly, from his own childhood. The life he has built for himself, between his work in Dublin and his family's retreat by the sea at Cush, is distinguished by order and by achievement. When, like his beloved coastline, it begins to slip away, he is pulled sharply into the present, and finds himself revisiting his past. Proceeds with stately grace from past to present, incident to incident, slowly forming, as it moves, the full shape of a man's public and private life' Washington Post If Colm Toibin were a singer you would say he had perfect pitch' Spectator

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Author information

Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels, most recently Brooklyn, the 2009 Costa Novel of the Year, and The Master, shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize. He has also written two collections of stories, The Empty Family and Mothers and Sons, and several works of non-fiction.

Editorial reviews

Toibin's debut (The South, 1991) followed its heroine, a married Irishwoman on the lam, through a cycle of gain and loss; his downbeat second novel, the portrait of a Dublin judge, is all loss, no gain. An only child, Eamon Redmond lost his mother in infancy (she died in 1934). Raised by his undomesticated schoolteacher father in a small Irish town, he learned early on to be self-sufficient. His grandfather had been imprisoned by the British; his father had also participated in the struggle for independence. Eamon joins their party, Fianna Fail, and establishes his legal career through political contacts. While Eamon's still a teenager, his father has a stroke, driving the schoolboy deeper into solitude. His future wife Carmel (they meet during a campaign) finds his reserve charming, at first, but she will never break it down, and years later (after she herself has had a stroke) she cries out, "You don't love me...you don't love any of us." (That "us" refers to their grown children, son Donal and daughter Niamh, estranged from their father since adolescence.) Eamon, then, is the coldest of cold fish; even at the end, after Carmel's death, he stirs little sympathy. Meanwhile, Toibin gives us present and past in alternate chapters; Eamon as a senior High Court judge, sharp-tongued on the bench but placidly uncommunicative with Carmel while summering at the shore, is contrasted with Eamon as a child. The technique hurts the story, and Toibin's undernourished prose lowers the temperature even further. At one point, pondering his most important judgment, Eamon realizes "he was not equipped to be a moral arbiter." Could this be a career crisis? But, no, the moment passes - another in a series of missed opportunities that doom the novel. (Kirkus Reviews)