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The Magician
  • Colm Toibin
  • ISBN: 9781476785080
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company
  • Pub Date: 09/2021
  • Pages: 320
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Price: $28.00
Description View

From one of today's most brilliant and beloved novelists comes a dazzling, dramatic family saga set across a half-century--spanning World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, and years of exile--the story of the spectacular life and times of Europe's most famous writer, the Nobel Prize-winning literary giant, Thomas Mann.

In a provincial German city at the turn of the 20th century, a young boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative, conventional father and a Brazilian mother, exotic and unpredictable. Mann, who will never fit in, hides both his artistic aspirations and his homosexual desires from his father, and his sexuality from everyone. He longs for a charismatic, rich, cultured young Jewish man, and marries his twin sister. He aches for a boy he sees on a beach in Venice and writes a novel about him. He is the most successful novelist of his time, and an extraordinarily complex and demanding husband and father. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of both Bohemianism and the anti-Nazi movement. share lovers. Two daughters marry famous writers themselves.

We see the rise of Hitler, the exile of German writers and artists, Mann's narrow escape to America, his sojourn at Princeton, along with fellow exile Einstein, and his final move to LA in the late 1940s where he presided over a remarkable community of writers, artists, and musicians, even as his children court tragedy.

As he did with Henry James in The Master, Tóibín blends research and his boundless imagination to make us care deeply about this writer who lived a singular life of astonishing accomplishments, in times of vast upheaval. The Magician is Tóibín's most magnificent and moving novel, an unforgettable portrait of a family and the artist at its helm, profoundly flawed, driven by desires he cannot satisfy, and fiercely engaged by the world.

As Michael Cunningham said about The Master, "Tóibín takes us almost shockingly close to the mystery of art itself."

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