New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families

New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families


By (author) Colm Toibin

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  • Publisher: VIKING
  • Format: Hardback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 32mm | 588g
  • Publication date: 23 February 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0670918164
  • ISBN 13: 9780670918164
  • Sales rank: 145,014

Product description

In his essay on the "Notebooks of Tennessee Williams", Colm Toibin reveals an artist 'alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish' and one profoundly tormented by his sister's mental illness. Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father or Thomas Mann and his children or J.M. Synge and his mother, Toibin examines a world of family relations, richly comic or savage in its implications. In Roddy Doyle's writing on his parents we see an Ireland reinvented. From the dreams and nightmares of John Cheever's journals Toibin makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. 'Educating an intellectual woman', Cheever remarked, 'is like letting a rattlesnake into the house'. In pieces that range from the importance of aunts (and the death of parents) in the English nineteenth-century novel to the relationship between fathers and sons in the writing of James Baldwin and Barack Obama, Colm Toibin illuminates not only the intimate connections between writers and their families but also articulates, with a rare tenderness and wit, the great joy of reading their work.

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Author information

Colm Toibin was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of five other novels, including The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and a collection of stories, Mothers and Sons.

Review quote

A brilliant book...Toibin is a supple, subtle thinker, alive to hints and undertones, wary of absolute truths. -- Robert Hanks New Statesman Illuminates, startles and delights...a consistingtly revealing look at how writers' relationships have influenced their work, [which] also sheds fascinating light on Toibin himself Sunday Telegraph These are foxy essays...Toibin talks about writers' families...with great subtlety and sometimes with splendid impudence The Spectator Insightful and compassionate...the breadth and depth of analysis here is impressive...Toibin wears his knowledge very lightly...a fine and engaging collection Independent on Sunday Toibin is a particularly compelling guide to fellow novelists...a wide-ranging and enlightening study of the potentially stifling family and the individual spirit of the writer Sunday Times Penetrating and often very funny...Toibin is a master Telegraph He writes in muscular prose with a keen eye for detail Economist Toibin knows how to select just the right feed our curiosity...a masterly writer, working at the full stretch of his powers Guardian Compelling...remarkable The Times