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I'm not normally a biography reader and didn't know much about Henry James before reading this, so it's hard to say really why I ordered "The Master." But I am so glad I did.
My interest in James arose while listening to "Reading Lolita in Tehran." James was one of the authors the Iranian women studied. I thought, here I am, able to read anything I want, and I don?t know anything about this writer that these people risked arrest to read.
And, what a wonderful book. Toibin is himself "The Master," his manner and style of writing are superb. This is what people really mean when they say someone "has a way with words."
For much of his life, Henry James lived as an American expatriate in England and Italy. The life and times of those countries are as much of James's story as the man himself. Toibin sketches the locales and cultures so vividly that I could see the garden outside the window of the house in the English countryside where James finally settled.
For anyone whose only experience with James was "Portrait of a Lady" in tenth grade, you owe it to yourself to learn something about this American legend.
Narration by Geoffrey Howard is excellent, the perfect voice for this perfect story.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful
A book about Henry James in sort of the style of Henry James, the same reticence and provocative hinting, the same restrained but intense examination of every word, every thought and mood. I'm a Henry James fan and thought I'd get mad at somebody who presumed to embellish and explain the life of a real person. I usually get annoyed by such hubris. But in this case I just can't. It is so so so good. And the sources of all the stories and books are stated (or implied) so satisfyingly. I adored it, and the reader was perfect for it.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2004, this book has been deservedly highly acclaimed. The author delicately explores the life of author Henry James, and probes with great subtlety the essentially fragile relationships he formed over the course of his life with both men and women. But what makes this audiobook completely outstanding is its telling. The book's elegantly structured English is rendered with poignant sensitivity by narrator Geoffrey Howard. I will be on the lookout for his readings of other books of merit.