The Master

Colm Tóibín

2004 Nominee

Man Booker Prize

04 April 2024
368 pages


Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

'A triumph' – The Observer
'A masterly achievement' – The Independent

In January 1895 Henry James anticipates the opening of his first play, Guy Domville, in London. The production fails, and he returns, chastened and humiliated, to his writing desk. The result is a string of masterpieces, but they are produced at a high personal cost.

In The Master Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man who circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, who was astonishingly vibrant and alive in his art, and yet whose attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. It is a powerful account of the hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart.

An audacious, profound, and wonderfully intelligent book.
A marvel of lightly worn research and modulated tone.
A must read. Colm Tóibín has not only written a spectacular novel he has found a way to pay tribute to Henry James. We should all be so gifted and so lucky.