Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know written and read by Colm Tóibín.
'A father...is a necessary evil.' Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses
In Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know, Colm Tóibín turns his incisive gaze to three of Ireland's greatest writers, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce, and their earliest influences: their fathers. From Wilde's doctor father, a brilliant statistician and amateur archaeologist, who was taken to court by an obsessed lover in a strange premonition of what would happen to his son; to Yeats' father, an impoverished artist and brilliant letter-writer who could never finish apainting; to John Stanislus Joyce, a singer, drinker and story-teller, a man unwilling to provide for his large family, whom his son James memorialised in his work.
Colm Tóibín illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways they surface in their work.
If there is a more brilliant writer than Tóibín working today, I don't know who that would be - Karen Joy Fowler
Toibin is a supple, subtle thinker, alive to hints and undertones, wary of absolute truths - New Statesman
A consistently revealing look at how writers' relationships have influenced their work - Sunday Telegraph on 'New Ways to Kill Your Mother'
A wide-ranging and enlightening study of the potentially stifling family and the individual spirit of the writer - Sunday Times on 'New Ways to Kill Your Mother'
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of House of Names by Colm Tóibín, read by Juliet Stevenson, Charlie Anson and Pippa Nixon.
'They cut her hair before they dragged her to the place of sacrifice. Her mouth was gagged to stop her cursing her father, her cowardly, two-tongued father. Nonetheless, they heard her muffled screams.'
On the day of his daughter's wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice.
His daughter is led to her death, and Agamemnon leads his army into battle, where he is rewarded with glorious victory.
Three years later, he returns home and his murderous action has set the entire family - mother, brother, sister - on a path of intimate violence, as they enter a world of hushed commands and soundless journeys through the palace's dungeons and bedchambers. As his wife seeks his death, his daughter, Electra, is the silent observer to the family's game of innocence while his son, Orestes, is sent into bewildering, frightening exile where survival is far from certain. Out of their desolating loss, Electra and Orestes must find a way to right these wrongs of the past even if it means committing themselves to a terrible, barbarous act.
House of Names is a story of intense longing and shocking betrayal. It is a work of great beauty, and daring, from one of our finest living writers.
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, read by Niamh Cusack.
It is Ireland in the early 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and her home for the first time.
Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. She is far from home - and homesick. And just as she takes tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis receives news which sends her back to Ireland. There she will be confronted by a terrible dilemma - a devastating choice between duty and one great love.
The downloadable, digital audiobook edition of Colm Tóibín's new novel, read by Fiona Shaw. It is the 1960s and Nora Webster is living with her two young sons in a small town on the east coast of Ireland. The love of her life, Maurice, has just died.
Nora must learn how to forge a new life for herself, how to give her sons a future as she tries to hold onto the past. And, as Nora returns to memories of the happiness of her early marriage something more painful begins to intrude: memories of her own mother and what brought about the terrifying distance between them.
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Master by Colm Toibin, read by William Hope.
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.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2013
The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Testament of Mary, the powerful new novel by Colm Tóibín, read by Meryl Streep.
From the author of Brooklyn, in a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.
As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary is the moving story of the Virgin Mary, told by a novelist famous for writing brilliantly about the family.
Praise for The Testament of Mary:
'This is a short book, but it is as dense as a diamond. It is as tragic as a Spanish pieta, but it is completely heretical...Tóibín maintains all the dignity of Mary without subscribing to the myths that have accumulated around her' Edmund White, Irish Times
'Depicting the harrowing losses and evasions that can go on between mothers and sons...Tóibín creates a reversed Pièta: he holds the mother in his arms' Independent
'A beautiful and daring work...it takes its power from the surprise of its language, its almost shocking characterization' Mary Gordon, New York Times
Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels, including The Blackwater Lightship, The Master, both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel Award, and two collections of stories, Mothers and Sons and The Empty Family.
The unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of Colm Tóibín's touching memoir, A Guest at the Feast, beautifully read by the author himself.
A Guest at the Feast moves from the small town of Enniscorthy to Dublin, from memories of a mother who always had a book on the go to the author's early adulthood, from a love of literature to the influences of place and family. Tóibín's captivating memoir is the story of a writer coming of age and his connections between home, work and love. It is a perfect gem of a book.