New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families
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Novelist and critic Colm Tóibín provides “a fascinating exploration of writers and their families” (Entertainment Weekly) and “an excellent guide through the dark terrain of unconscious desires” (The Evening Standard) in this brilliant collection of essays that explore the relationships of writers to their families and their work.
Novelist and critic Colm Tóibín explores the relationships of writers with their families and their work in the brilliant, nuanced, and wholly original New Ways to Kill Your Mother.
Tóibín—celebrated both for his award-winning fiction and his provocative book reviews and essays—traces the intriguing, often twisted family ties of writers in the books they leave behind.
Through the relationship between W. B. Yeats and his father, Thomas Mann and his children, Jane Austen and her aunts, and Tennessee Williams and his sister, Tóibín examines a world of relations, richly comic or savage in their implications. Acutely perceptive and imbued with rare tenderness and wit, New Ways to Kill Your Mother is a fascinating look at writers’ most influential bonds and a secret key to understanding and enjoying their work.
it is that makes my books sell and any author who claims to know is a fool or a liar or both.’ This did not deter Allen Drury, whose book A Shade of Difference was on the list. ‘I hope,’ he wrote, ‘those readers who like what I have to say like it because it is honest, well-expressed and pertinent to the world in which we live.’ James Baldwin’s Another Country had also been a best-seller, and Baldwin used the occasion to position himself ambiguously in two of the central pantheons of American
method is most wicked in this country – wholesale slaughter because a few are cruel … I am not sure of her.’ A few years later Yeats wrote to George that Maud Gonne ‘had to choose (perhaps all women must) between broomstick and distaff and she has chosen broomstick’. Of the women who were closest to Yeats, Lady Gregory was the one he saw most of after his marriage. George, Yeats’s father noted when he met her in New York, was ‘the only woman I have ever met who is not scared of Lady Gregory. I
time between 1932 and recently. Roddy Doyle’s parents, then, being born in the short time after the struggle for independence ended and before the revolutionaries began to grow roses, are Irish versions of midnight’s children. Doyle has attempted to write a book about a most elusive subject, using their two voices; he has attempted to evoke ordinary life in peacetime amounting in its modest way to happiness. He has kept the revolution and its spirit in the background, placing instead his
provide the background to Rory & Ita; he made an effort to apply his comic skills to the lives of his grandparents. Henry, his hero, who plays a crucial part in most events in Irish history, is also a Dubliner who comes in contact with the members of the nationalist movement: They hated anyone or anything from Dublin. Dublin was too close to England; it was where the orders and cruelty came from … Ireland was everywhere west of Dublin, the real people were west, west, west, as far west as
the family chauffeur, himself a party member, that they were in danger. Later, Klaus wrote that the chauffeur ‘had been a Nazi spy throughout the four or five years he lived with us … But this time he had failed in his duty, out of sympathy, I suppose. For he knew what would happen to us if he informed his Nazi employers of our arrival in town.’ Erika and Klaus made contact with their parents, who were in Switzerland, and warned them not to return to Munich. As soon as she could, Erika drove