The Master by Colm Tóibín - review by Francis King

Francis King

Portrait of a Writer

The Master


Picador 470pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

IF LEON EDEL'S five-volume life of Henry James is the literary equivalent of a vast but perfectly articulated symphony, this novel can best be described as a series of brilliant attitudes based on themes derived from it.

Frequently Colm Toibin concentrates on some event which although not obviously of major importance at the time of its occurrence nonetheless decisively jolted the even tenor of James's life. Such was the first night of the play Guy Domville in 1895. When the curtain rose on George Alexander's lavish production,

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