Nora Webster

Colm Toibin (Author)


From one of contemporary literature's bestselling, critically acclaimed, and beloved authors: a "luminous" novel (Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review) about a fiercely compelling young widow navigating grief, fear, and longing, and finding her own voice--"heartrendingly transcendant" (The New York Times, Janet Maslin).

Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín's magnificent 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 sucked back into it. Wounded, selfish, 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 insight and empathy, and when she begins to sing again, after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven--herself.

Nora Webster "may actually be a perfect work of fiction" (Los Angeles Times), by a "beautiful and daring" writer (The New York Times Book Review) at the zenith of his career, able to "sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations" (USA TODAY). "Miraculous...Tóibín portrays Nora with tremendous sympathy and understanding" (Ron Charles, The Washington Post).

Product Details

$17.00  $15.64
Scribner Book Company
Publish Date
June 02, 2015
5.2 X 1.1 X 7.9 inches | 0.75 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Colm Toibin's novel The Master won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Le prix du meilleur livre etranger, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His other books of fiction include The Story of theNight, The Blackwater Lightship, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the short-fiction collection Mothers and Sons. He was one of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize judges in Toronto. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.


"A deeply moving portrait of the flowering of a self-liberated woman, Nora Webster tells the story of all the invisible battles the heart faces every day."--Buzzy Jackson, Boston Globe
"Fascinating... Revelatory... More thoughtful than Emma Bovary and less self-destructive, in the end far and away a better parent than the doomed Anna Karenina for all the latter's dramatic posturing, Nora Webster is easily as memorable as either--and far more believable. To say more would spoil a masterful-- and unforgettable--novel."--Betsy Burton "NPR "
"Toibin artfully shows us a Nora unmoored...This quiet, wrenching novel conceals considerable human turbulence beneath its placid surface. So Toibin has learned well from Henry James...In many ways, Nora Webster would bring an admiring smile to the Master's lips."--Daniel Dyer, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The Ireland of four decades ago is beautifully evoked... Completely absorbing [and] remarkably heart-affecting."--Booklist (starred review)
"A compelling portrait... [of] a brave woman learning how to find a meaningful life as she goes on alone."--Publishers Weekly
"A high-wire act of an eighth novel... Toibin's radical restraint elevates what might have been a familiar tale of grief and survival into a realm of heightened inquiry. The result is a luminous, elliptical novel in which everyday life manages, in moments, to approach the mystical... There is much about Nora Webster that we never know. And her very mystery is what makes her regeneration, when it comes, feel universal."--Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review
"[Nora Webster] may actually be a perfect work of fiction... There is no pyrotechny in the writing -- just compassion and shrewd insight. Which is where Toibin's brilliance lies... People call Toibin a beautiful writer because they don't know how otherwise to classify such a delicate talent, such empathic simplicity. Some mysteries can't be deciphered by criticism. Colm Toibin is not a beautiful writer, he's merely a great one."--Darin Strauss, The Los Angeles Times
" emotionally satisfying read...powerful."--The Associated Press
"Toibin's restraint, sly humor and gentle prose cadence echo those of another Irish master, William Trevor. So does his affection for his characters... How Nora chooses to make her voice heard and how her children find ways to express their own pain provide Nora Webster's plot and pleasure...a so-called average life can make for a thrilling read...Toibin presents one woman's life keenly observed and honored with compassion. With Enniscorthy, he also creates a town, constrained and forever behind the times though it is, that feels like the whole world."--The Miami Herald
"[A] quietly moving study of a complex character and her ambiguous feelings toward the web of family and neighbors surrounding her in the small town of Enniscorthy.... All his books share precise, restrained prose, which can, in its simplicity, reach elegance."--Maya Muir, The Portland Oregonian
"Miraculous... a strikingly restrained novel about a woman awakening from grief and discovering her own space, her own will...extraordinary... [Toibin] portrays Nora with tremendous sympathy and understanding."--Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Momentous, made with consummate art... It does everything we ought to ask of a great novel: that it respond to the fullness of our lives, be as large as life itself."--Tessa Hadley, The Guardian
"Each paragraph of these pages rewards rereading, so deftly are they composed, and so full of pathos and insight."--Claud Peck, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Richly detailed... Tóibín's slow pacing results in bright moments of beauty."--The New Yorker
"Heart-rendingly transcendent... Mr. Toibin's prose has an elegant, visceral simplicity."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times