[E–pub READ] New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families Author Colm Tóibín
Attirance Criminelle Tome 1 yHinterland deals with the Father as did a lot of plays in the earlyears of the twenty first century More specifically he deals with the father and his short comings both as the head and thus father figure of a nation and in his home life If Ireland needed a public figure to become its disgraced father then Charles Haughey auditioned perfectly for the role and played it with tragic dignity in a lonely exile in his Georgian mansion in North County Dublin The chapter on Roddy Doyle and Hugo Hamilton provides the reader with a contrast in fathers While father Doyle came from a republican family he had no real interest in the concept of Ireland and its language Hamilton s father on the other hand took such pride in his Irishness that he refused to speak English and forbade the use of that language in his house and thus managed to cruelly curtail his children s childhood in the processIn part two of this book Elsewhere we start with a look at Thomas Mann and his family To say that the relationships within this family were unconventional would be putting it mildly Covering among other things homosexuality and incest this chapter is rather gossipy in appearance and rather fascinating as a resultWith Borges however we are back in line with the title be it that the parent being killed is the father rather than the mother It is as though an artist such as Picasso whose father was a failed painter or William James whose father was a failed essayist or VS Naipaul sought to compensate for his father s failure while at the same time using his talent as a way of killing the father off showing his mother who was the real man in the household I could give examples of how authors deal with their families in their published work but this book covers so much than what is implied in the title This book also discusses the authors work sometimes staying on topic and discussing how their families and their relationship with them influenced it but at other times giving a much general description of their writings In fact there are some chapters in this book in which the author s family is barely mentioned at all Brian Moore s story seems to be about his absence from his native Belfast than about his relationship with his relatives for example So I think it is fair to say that while for some of the authors mentioned their relationships with their families were hugely influential on their work for others that was less or not at all the case In fact the first piece about James Baldwin doesn t appear to be about his family at all but about his relationship with America and the changes it was going through The chapter James Baldwin shares with Barack Obama on the other hand is very much about their families or specifically their absent fathers T ib n may be writing about other authors and uoting from their work letters and diaries giving the reader a taste of the magnificence of those authors his own writing is eually impressive in its thoughtfulness and fluency It is clear that he is an expert when it comes to authors their work and the connections between the various authors At times this book reads as if he personally knows all these people he is writing about and is generously sharing this personal knowledge with his readers This is neither a uick nor an easy read It is a fascinating book though Ideally I feel it should be read in bits and pieces a chapter started and finished when ou are reading a book by or about the author in uestion Especially since I found that I was far interested in the chapters on authors and books I am familiar with than in those whose subject I had barely heard of I know I will be revisiting certain chapters when I m preparing for book discussions with my reading group Colm T ib n provides his readers with fascinating and knowledgeable insights into authors as well as their work and in doing so also gives his readers a better understanding of #those works and of what motivated the authors to write them I was drawn to this book by #works and of what motivated the authors to write them I was drawn to this book by write up in the Guardian review a couple of weeks ago and by the title Although it is a pleasant read the mismatch between the title and the book and some confusion about what the book actually is made the overall experience a bit disappointingEssentially it is a collection of essays of literary criticism loosely linked by the subject of writers and their families It particularly but not exclusively concentrates on family relationships that writers have sought to Seeing Colm T ib n read was a bright spot in an writers have sought to Seeing Colm T ib n read was a bright spot an otherwise trip to Seattle He s hilarious And brilliant I m a sucker for thatNever read anything by him but remembered that my mom had given me this book and resolved to check it out once I got home I read about half of this and enjoyed it so much that I forgot to notice that I m not especially interested in its topic which seemed to be the lives of various Irish writers Then I remembered set the book down on my nightstand and didn t touch it for the next five monthsI m doing a currently reading purge today and so I m moving it both on the Bookface and literal physical shelves Ciao Colm Maybe I ll read of this at some point but it doesn t seem to be happening now. Ions 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 Tóibín makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his childrenThe majority of these pieces were previously published in the Londron Review of Books the New York Review Review of Books and the Dublin Review Three of the thirteen pieces have never appeared befo. Of novels so it was utterly #fascinating to read how he researches the lives of other writers and also has written as #to read how he researches the lives of other writers and also has written as works of non fiction Kind of a gossip rag for the literati so it was fun for me Realized too late that instead of an interconnected narrative this is a book of essays most published in the LRB the NYRB and the Dublin Review loosely organized around a sort of guiding aesthetic about how artists use and are formed by their family dynamics Loosely is the appropriate word This is sort of like The Anxiety of Influence with the theory left out which ou would think might be a pleasant experience than reading this fix up actually is the pleasure in reading carefully crafted sentences or analytical insights fades as the reader deceived by the illusion of structure gets a kind of mental headache trying to fit all the various pieces into one overarching Magic Eye like vision that never uite shifts into focus This book works mainly by allusion and comparison this is like that that resembles this Sometimes this works uite well as when he compares the various parallels between the James and Yeats families James is referenced everywhere and paired up with Jane Austen James Baldwin and other stunningly inappropriate figures This attempted thesis antithesis synthesis movement fails most disastrously when a terribly shallow analysis of Baldwin merges into a really dreadful comparison of Baldwin the writer to Obama the politician Unfortunately these failures are the last and the next to last essays in the book so they nearly eclipse the earlier fine work on Yeats and his father Yeats and his wife Synge Beckett and so on in short the first part of the book Ireland works uite well and the second half Elsewhere is about as disastrous as ou might suspect The essays on Mann Borges and Crane are merely perfunctory and unnecessary but the misunderstanding descending at times to sneering shown in the sections on Tennessee Williams John Cheever and especially Baldwin is baffling It is perhaps not a coincidence that those writers draw a great deal of their power from a regional register and are based in particular American experienceThis man has apparently written a novel about Brooklyn I cannot imagine what it might be like given his apparent partial extremely literary and incomplete understanding of American authors and history Highly chaotic albeit dusted with dispersed pieces of curious information Some highlights Thomas Mann homosexuality and incest that seems to run in the family The peculiar lifelong sort of childish habits and shifting political biases of Jorge Luis Borges Tennessee Williams and the ghost of Rose a schizophrenia and lobotomy tainted macabre fairy tale On being black American from versatile ancestry to uniform voiceColm T ib n is uite erudite and skillful storyteller but I almost inevitably lost his train of thought even in a single essay Too many references to people and events that had little to do with the story at hand I hope Mr T ib n and I meet up again for a productive reading In this fascinating book Colm T ib n sets out to show how their families influenced the work of various authors Divided into two sections he first concentrates on Irish authors WB Yeats JM Synge Samuel Beckett Brian Moore Sebastian Barry Roddy Doyle and Hugo Hamilton The second part of the book called Elsewhere gives us glimpses of the lives and families of Thomas Mann Jorge Luis Borges Hart Crane Tennessee Williams John Cheever James Baldwin and finally Barack Obama a man we don t think of as an author first and foremost And there is one other author who returns in chapter after chapter although he isn t given one of his own Henry JamesOf course Henry James is a favourite subject for T ib n His book The Master provides a wonderful description of James life and work And having recently had the opportunity to hear him talk about the James family and their connection to Bailieborough a town close to where I live I fully appreciate the depth of his knowledge and his affection for his subjectWith skill and clarity T ib n shows us how authors made use of their relationships or lack thereof with their families For example in the preface he reflects on the absent mother who in the novels of Jane Austen and Henry James is a vehicle to allow the main character to develop on their own without maternal influencesBut the observations in this book are
not limited to how the family influenced the work of the authors limited to how the family influenced the work of the authors they also reflect on their actual relationships in real life Thus the two successful authors William Butler Yeats and Henry James each in his prime had managed to kill their father rather fatally as it were by letting his work be published in book form But the reader is given much than the title of this book seems to promise While connections between authors their relationships with their families and their work are freuent those works are discussed in detail that goes above and beyond the family relationship So with regard to WB Yeats and his much ounger wife George we are shown a symbol of the way writers use houses for their magic properties rather than their domestic space And Sebastian Barry in his play. Ections between writers and their families but also with wit and rare tenderness articulates the great joy of reading their work In the piece on the Notebooks of Tennessee Williams Tóibín reveals an artist alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish and one profoundly tormented by his sister's mental illness Through the relationship between WB Yeats and his father or Thomas Mann and his children or JM Synge and his mother Tóibín examines a world of family relat. First things first author Colm T ib n s New Ways to Kill Your Mother is no lightweight frothy summer beach read so be prepared for that He s an Irish novelist essayist journalist critic short story writer playwright and recently a poet Described recently as an old fashioned literary man o war he is generally regarded by those familiar with his works as having outclassed many at the various literary forms in which he has delvedThough the title might suggest a manual about matricide T ib n s new work is not about the act of murdering one s own mother The author skillfully delves into the association between the portrayal of family relations in literature and the actual home lives of writers and it can be as complex as it is absorbing The title is metaphoricalThe relationship between writers their chosen occupation and the part that it plays with their families is often like combat It is to this absorbing topic that author T ib n turns in his interesting collection of essays on writers and their mothers fathers and other family members Early into the book we see these wordsThe novel in English over the nineteenth century is filled with parents whose influence must be evaded or erased to be replaced by figures who operate either literally or figuratively as aunts both kind and mean both well intentioned and duplicitous both rescuing and destroying The novel is a form ripe for orphans or for those whose orphanhood will be all the powerful for being figurative or open to the suggestion both sweet and sour of surrogate parentsAfter an interesting opening section with a look at Jane Austen Henry James and s bit we find T ib n s work arranged in two parts In Ireland he reflects on the work of WB Yeats Synge Beckett Brian Moore Sebastian Barry and others He writes about Thomas Mann Jorge Luis Borges Hart Crane Tennessee Williams and John Cheever in Elsewhere ending that section with some insight into the writings of James Baldwin and Barack ObamaJames Baldwin s Notes of a Native Son published in 1955 begins On the 29th of July in 1943 my father died Baldwin was almost nineteen at the time Barack Obama s Dreams from My Father published in 1995 begins also with the death of his father A few months after my twenty first birthday a stranger called to give me the news As seen in that passage the title of this book can be misleading as T ib n s essays are uite often concerned with the role of the father as much as the motherA good number of the essays found here were originally published in periodicals including the New York Review of Books the London Review of Books and the Dublin Review as is noted in the author s acknowledgements in the back of this bookColm T ib n as the essayist reflects a certain asceticism but he s as crafty a storyteller as T ib n the novelist For the reader his most highly regarded fiction The Blackwater Lightship The Master and The Heather Blazing generally build up with a slow but sure gathering of events There becomes a point with his novels that the reader becomes engaged and it s this skilful
result that makes his novels seem believable This reader had admittedly found T ib n s highly Brooklyn to be a one dimensional disappointment when reviewed in 2009 but after reading his latest here it s a very compelling thought to give that #novel a second lookAgain New Ways to Kill Your Mother is no simple #a second lookAgain New Ways to Kill Your Mother is no simple beach read But when God de vader en God de moeder you feel thatour brain cells have been almost destroyed by the likes of the everyone is talking about it Fifty Shades of Drivel series and apologies if ou re a die hard fan Colm T ib n s 5 star book may go a long way to being cathartic if only for the healing effect it will have on our thinking processNote portions of this review appeared here earlier 6202012 In this rather anarchic rambling collection of literary commentary CT proves himself once again a master of the gab I amazed myself by finding interest in anecdotes concerning authors I uite dislike and works Ive previously considered boring Adverse as I am to games such as trivial pursuit I have to admit there lurks in me a love a certain kind of gossip the kind about literary feuds and old muses Its uite fascinating although sometimes appalling to read about the families of great authors and their influence or lack of itIt would have been nice if there was a bit coherence to this book but if ou love to read there is uite a feast here okay lemme be honest i only read one chapter and i didn t like it toibin is discussing the personal lives of venerable authors and playwrights which is not my area of interest as much as this book could be cool for people interested in biology for me it was plain boringread chapter of beckett This is a fascinating account of authors and the importance of the family in their life and literature It is split into two This is a provocatively titled book and its actually of an exploration of writers and the relationships with their families some which include mothers some wives some fathers and some extended family members Dysfunctional families often provide subject matter for a lifetime best exemplified by Eugene O Neill s plays But I know of Colm Toibin as a writer. In this fascinating informative and entertaining collection internationally acclaimed award winning author Colm Tóibín turns his attention to the intricacies of family relationships in literature and writing 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 Tóibín illuminates not only the intimate conn.
cumulative result that makes his novels seem most believable This reader had admittedly found T ib s highly