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New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and…
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New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families (urspr publ 2012; utgåvan 2012)

av Colm Toibin

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1912106,959 (3.53)17
In his essay on the "Notebooks" of Tennessee Williams, Colm Toibin reveals an artist "alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish" and one profoundly tormented by his sister's mental illness. Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father or Thomas Mann and his children or J.M. Synge and his mother, Toibin examines a world of family relations, 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 Toibin makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. "Educating an intellectual woman," Cheever remarked, "is like letting a rattlesnake into the house." 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 Toibin illuminates not only the intimate connections between writers and their families but also articulates, with a rare tenderness and wit, the great joy of reading their work.… (mer)
Medlem:cla37619
Titel:New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families
Författare:Colm Toibin
Info:Scribner (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 352 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families av Colm Tóibín (2012)

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Toibin's collection of biographical literary essays focuses on the relationships between writers and their parents and the effects these relationships had upon their work. There's something here for everyone--which is both the book's strength and its weakness. While I read them all, this is the kind of collection from which a reader might best pick and choose. For me, the most intriguing essays were those on Jane Austen, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and Roddy Doyle, writers whose work I already enjoy. (Sorry to say, however, that Yeats comes off as somewhat of an idiot tyrant; in a second essay, Toibin devotes equal time to George, Yeats's much ill-treated wife.)

With the exception of the section on Hart Crane, about whom I knew little but who led a particularly sad, brief life dominated by a snobbish, overbearing mother, I was less interested in Toibin's essays on writers whose work I either haven't read or don't particularly care for, among them Samuel Beckett, Sebastian Barry, Thomas Mann, Jorge Luis Borges, and John Cheever. The effect of Toibin's essays on Mann and Cheever confirmed that I will probably never want to read their works; both come off as nasty, cruel human beings whose families suffered their worst abuse. I learned nothing that I didn't already know from the essay on Tennessee Williams, but it would probably be interesting to someone who came to it fresh.

Toibin includes two essays on James Baldwin. The first, "James Baldwin and the 'American Confusion,'" provides an interesting discussion of the writer's place in U.S. literature, despite his ex-patriot status. In the second, Toibin compares the works of Baldwin and Barack Obama, both "Men without Fathers." I felt that he strained a bit too much to be haut courant in his effort to show Obama channeling Baldwin's prose style.

Toibin is a sensitive reader who arrives at some brilliant insights, and he has unearthed intriguing tidbits about each author's life that make the essays more enjoyable than straight literary criticism might have been. Still, like me, most readers will probably find the collection rather uneven. (I thought the essay on Borges was never going to end, and it seemed quite repetitive.) To be best appreciated at its best, go at New Ways to Kill Your Mother like a box of fine chocolates: savor them one at a time. ( )
3 rösta Cariola | Sep 6, 2013 |
Boring. Too literary. I was expecting something a bit more biographical about all the great writers' poor, neglected family members who pined for their fathers and husbands while said men toiled away in their lonely garret. ( )
  santom01 | Jan 29, 2013 |
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In his essay on the "Notebooks" of Tennessee Williams, Colm Toibin reveals an artist "alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish" and one profoundly tormented by his sister's mental illness. Through the relationship between W.B. Yeats and his father or Thomas Mann and his children or J.M. Synge and his mother, Toibin examines a world of family relations, 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 Toibin makes flesh this darkly comic misanthrope and his relationship to his wife and his children. "Educating an intellectual woman," Cheever remarked, "is like letting a rattlesnake into the house." 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 Toibin illuminates not only the intimate connections between writers and their families but also articulates, with a rare tenderness and wit, the great joy of reading their work.

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