‘Cements an idea we had in our minds that Toibin is quietly becoming a sort of Irish version of Ian McEwan’ – Nora Webster by Colm Toibin


nwctAlthough ostensibly taking place in Ireland roughly a decade after the events of Brooklyn, and featuring a whole host of different characters, Nora Webster is a book that is very much cut from the same cloth. Brooklyn‘s central character Eilis is even mentioned in an aside at one point early on in the book, the counterpoint offered as a possible life choice that isn’t open to our titular heroine this time around, whose life is evenly mapped by both grief and responsibility. Grief because at the opening of the novel, Nora has just lost her husband Maurice to a sudden and surprising illness; responsibility because, in keeping with a great many Irish families at the time, they weren’t backward at coming forward when it came to children, and Nora and Maurice managed four children, two girls and two boys, before he shuffled off this mortal coil. So Nora Webster then…

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